Market Transformation Strategy Focuses on West Africa
The Market Transformation Strategy (MTS) for cocoa was the last MTS to be completed, and the lowest-funded. Due to the composition of cocoa production in West Africa and the relative threat to a diminishing forest landscape, BACP strategy was to focus initial cocoa efforts there, in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. A secondary focus was placed on Indonesia and Brazil. These four countries represent 85% of global production of cocoa, and also overlap with biodiversity hotpots.
The first component of the MTS aimed to define and promote biodiversity-friendly cocoa production systems, while researching their benefits to farmers. Plagued by pests, diseases, aging trees, and depleted soil fertility, global cocoa production declined in 2008/2009 for the fourth year in a row, and projections anticipated a leveling off of global supply. BACP, therefore, hoped its efforts would not only increase uptake of sustainable practices among cocoa producers, but also increase cocoa yields overall.
Increasing the Prevalence of Shade Cocoa
Within the cocoa sector, the nature of the production scheme (full-sun or shade/agroforestry) is the primary factor that determines if cocoa production has positive or negative effects on biodiversity. Conservation International and Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP) trials in Ghana have both shown that shade, integrated pest management (IPM), and BMPs can lead to a 10-100% increase in productivity, reducing the need for expansion into forests and creating habitat within well-managed agroforestry systems.
Grantees researched and selected biodiversity indicators to be used in CocoaMAP (Cocoa Measurement and Progress), a World Cocoa Foundation platform tracking efforts to achieve sustainability in cocoa production. They trained cocoa farmers in biodiversity-friendly farming practices with the aim of achieving Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade certification. They also developed and implemented rapid biodiversity assessment and data collection methodologies, which they used to produce maps. These methodologies can be used to show the impact on biodiversity and land use of training cocoa farmers in sustainable production.
Strengthening the Environmental Criteria of Commercial Certifications
The second component of the MTS aimed to increase the supply of biodiversity-friendly cocoa products by supporting the strengthening of environmental criteria in commercial standards and existing certification programs.
World Cocoa Foundation held meetings with Mars and Olam, where both companies expressed their commitment to increasing the supply and demand of certified cocoa. The Fairtrade Network of Asian and Pacific Producers expressed interest in adapting training materials developed by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand, showing that an interest in biodiversity is slowly traveling up the chain of a certification organization. At the close of the grant, Conservation Alliance was closing in on partnerships with buyers, traders and local processing plants, and looking toward setting up a marketing system. And by making new training materials available through their Certification Capacity Enhancement stakeholders platform, Armajaro can influence the uptake of biodiversity indicators by Cargill, Mondelez, Continaf and Mars.