The vast majority of the world’s cocoa is produced by smallholder farmers, who often live in severe poverty. Low and declining yields—the result of poor planting material, aging cocoa trees, decreased soil fertility, lowered tolerance for pests and diseases, combined with changing weather patterns—make it hard for cocoa farmers to make a decent living. Farmers lack support in planning farm improvements and do not receive personal coaching to overcome difficulties. We believe that we have a solution: FarmGrow.
Currently, we are working in Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Indonesia, with a wide array of stakeholders, from farmers to manufacturers, governmental institutions to branch organizations. Read about the first-hand experiences of our stakeholders here.
FarmGrow is all about intensive personal engagement with thousands of farmers in the major cocoa producing areas of the world, requiring many coaches in the field who are supporting farmers on how to produce more cocoa without negative effects on the environment. To monitor this at scale, consistent information on landscape level is required, this is where remote sensing technologies come in.
Most of the world’s cocoa is produced by smallholder farmers, who all too often live in severe poverty. The struggle to make a decent living is getting tougher as farmers grapple with aging trees, declining soil fertility and a whole host of new challenges arising from unpredictable weather conditions to increased outbreaks of pests and diseases.
Touton, on-boarded coaches among its own staff to guide cocoa farmers participating in FarmGrow on a personal basis in order to help them implement their seven-year farming plans.
Precision agriculture technologies for the cocoa industry in West Africa and Indonesia is often deemed far-fetched. Smallholder farmers in these regions, however, are susceptible to negative changes in the environment and often lack timely, site specific and actionable advice.
Global cocoa trader Touton has been closely involved in the co-design of FarmGrow right from the very start. “We appreciated the innovative approach” says Isabelle Adam, responsible for corporate relations at the company.
For cocoa manufacturing company Mars, embracing FarmGrow was an easy decision. Kim Frankovich, the vice president of cocoa sustainability at Mars Wrigley, explains that the reason her company is a “supporter, enabler, and champion” of FarmGrow is because of the benefits it offers the industry.