All Cadbury chocolate bars sold in the UK and Ireland are to use sustainably-sourced cocoa, in a bid to secure a future for farmers and supplies of the key ingredient.
Farmers in Ghana, from where cocoa for Cadbury chocolate has come for more than a century, are being helped to boost their yields and profits as part of the company’s Cocoa Life sustainability scheme.
The programme is also funding community initiatives to improve lives, ranging from giving children bicycles to get to school to helping develop other businesses such as bakeries and soap-making.
It is part of a £310 million investment over 10 years across six countries by Cadbury owner Mondelez International to secure future cocoa supplies.
Ghana’s cocoa sector faces major challenges, with people trapped in unprofitable subsistence farming and its future threatened by climate change.
The average age of cocoa farmers is 55, as youngsters head to cities to find jobs or even turn to illegal gold mining.
Steve Mann, from Cadbury, said: “Without cocoa there is no chocolate, without the next generation of cocoa farmers and a thriving cocoa supply chain, there’s no cocoa.
“It’s very important for us to make sure right into the future we have a sustainable supply of cocoa.”
By the end of 2018, all Cadbury chocolate bars in the UK and Ireland will carry the Cocoa Life symbol, showing cocoa is sourced through the programme, which works with a number of charities and partners with Fairtrade to verify farmers get a fair deal.
A key element is encouraging better agricultural practices, including weeding and pruning, planting shade trees to protect the cocoa from rising temperatures and ensuring the best number of plants per acre.
Under Cocoa Life, farmers receive a premium for their cocoa on top of the price set by the government, boosting incomes.
Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, country lead for the Cocoa Life Ghana programme, said that in the 447 communities where the scheme is operating so far, “I’ve seen a more than marked difference in how people are thriving”.