On the heels of the 2020 International Day of Forests on March 21, Mars Wrigley is sharing progress on its commitment to forest preservation and to achieve a deforestation-free cocoa supply chain by 2025. As part of their promise of transparency and our commitment to to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, they are publicly releasing their progress and action plans for Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – where more than 65% of the world’s cocoa is grown.
Forests provide habitat for half of all known plant and animal species, regulate local rainfall patterns and provide livelihoods for millions of people in rural communities, including cocoa farmers. Forests also serve as important reservoirs of carbon and the clearing of primary forest cover causes serious increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s why Mars want to help farmers grow more cocoa on existing farmland without further land expansion by destroying forests. As part of their Cocoa for Generations strategy, they aim to create a worldwide deforestation-free cocoa supply chain, as well as further enforce human rights commitments with their cocoa suppliers to respect and promote the human rights of indigenous people and communities.
Achieving The Cocoa Supply Chain We Want Tomorrow
In order to achieve a deforestation-free cocoa supply chain by 2025, Mars have been advancing partnerships with cocoa suppliers, governments and civil society partners who share our common goal of forests preservation for the future, and are accelerating their progress by working only with cocoa suppliers who can be accountable to meet the milestones in our Cocoa for Generations plan.
Mars’ focus is on traceability and polygon mapping of the farms in our supply chain – and collaboration with others is key to success. The work includes mapping 100% of supply chain via GPS to the farm level, risk assessment and action plans for all of the countries where they source cocoa including Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, Indonesia, Brazil, Cameroon and Ecuador.
Mars state they’re proud to share that by the end of 2019, they mapped almost 100% of the farms in Ghana and 62% in Côte d’Ivoire. They’ve also made significant progress in tracing the cocoa we source to a country of origin via their Tier 1 direct suppliers, Tier 2 farmer groups and Tier 3 farmer level.
Picture provided by FarmGrow
Mars’ actions are not only making a difference for forests, they are also positively impacting the lives of cocoa famers like Nana Yaw Bediako and his family from Addokrom in the Ahafo region of Ghana.
Did you know? 17% of the world’s cocoa is produced in Ghana, making it the second biggest cocoa producer in the world.
In collaboration with the Grameen Foundation, The Rainforest Alliance, Satelligence and Waterwatch Projects, Mars and Touton were the first companies to embrace FarmGrow, an Android-based decision-making tool for cocoa farmers that combines agronomy and economics to help them improve their productivity and the sustainability of their farms in the long-term. The initiative builds on an earlier initiative called the Farm Development Plan that provides an individualized agribusiness planning and monitoring tool for cocoa farmers.
Individual farmer coaching helps to consistently maintain farms and increase yields and income from existing cocoa land, thereby avoiding expansion into forests. Using FarmGrow, our suppliers’ field teams can provide customized coaching on farming practices, help farmers prioritize investments, share information about crop management and monitor adoption methods to improve farmers’ yields.
Nana Yaw Bediako is one of the farmers using this transformational technology.
“I’ve taken part in the cocoa programs that Mars and Touton have introduced to my village for many years, such as certification, and I’ve seen my farm improving thanks to the implementation of new practices and technologies,” he said.
Participating farmers can cocreate a personalized farm development plan that includes an activity plan and profit and loss statement by plot that helps them make informed decisions about how to maximize return on investment and increase their incomes.
As of December 2019, Touton had reached more than 4500 farmers in Ghana, of which 1650 farmers in Ghana effectively adopted a FarmGrow plan.
“I signed up to the FarmGrow program as it was an opportunity to learn more technical skills through continuous coaching. It helps me to clearly understand what to expect from my farm and how to get there based on the resources I have available and the ones I should seek for,” Nana Yaw said. “I’m eager to see the concrete results of the time and resources I have invested in my farm in the coming years for my family and myself.”
More farmers are being considered for this program and our peer companies also have started building on this approach. Today FarmGrow is working in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia, with a wide array of stakeholders, from farmers and manufacturers to governmental institutions and branch organizations. When it comes to saving our forests, we are proud that our actions today will make a difference tomorrow.