Cargill, a global cocoa giant, has reiterated its commitment to a transparent and sustainable cocoa sector, which improves the lives of farmers and their communities in the five origin countries where it directly sources cocoa.
The countries are Ghana, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire and Indonesia.
A statement released by the company and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the highlights of latest efforts and progress made on this commitment were captured in a Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate 2018-2019 Sustainability Progress Report released by the company this week.
Quoting Mr Harold Poelma, President of Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, the statement said "This sustainability progress report highlights how Cargill uses technology to connect every dot in the cocoa supply chain.
Maximum transparency in the cocoa sector is critical for making real progress on sustainability.
It did not only help cocoa farmers, their families and communities prosper, but also helped protect the planet.
The statement said through the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company's sustainability programme, opportunities offered by technologies, such as mobile money, GPS mapping and digital data collection, were used to promote transparency on how cocoa was grown and sourced from farmers.
It said key milestones of the report included; "With the use of barcoded cocoa bags and digital Cooperative Management Systems (CMS), 50 per cent of sustainable cocoa beans in the global direct supply chain are now traceable from farm-to-factory."
The statement said: "In 2018-2019, 151,190 metric tonnes of cocoa beans were tracked, adding that the CMS enabled farmers organisations to manage loans, collect beans and check fixed versus variable costs.
Also, starting in 2018-2019, all farmer organisations in the direct sourcing network in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire were now visible through an interactive Cargill Cocoa Promise Sourcing Partner Network map and they benefitted from Cargill Cocoa Promise programmes.
Implementation of child labour monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) to address child labour significantly increased.
In addition to Côte d'Ivoire, Cargill also deployed CLMRS now in Ghana and Cameroon, reaching a total of 58,800 farmers in 2018-2019.
This extended the reach from seven to 29 per cent of the total number of farms in the direct supply chain.
In 2018-2019, Cargill also conducted a needs assessment for programmes to address child labour in cocoa growing communities in Indonesia; a localised approach to CLRMS will follow in 2020.
GPS polygon mapping of 72 per cent of all farmers in the direct supply chain, representing over 400,000 hectares of farmland, was completed.
Cargill is well on its way to identify where the cocoa comes from, which areas may be at risk of deforestation and how to mitigate this risk through specific interventions." the statement added.
The company says digital tools being provided to farmers were not only helping them improve farming practices and get market insights, but also became a means to communicate with these farmers in crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic, it noted.
Through Cargill's digital tools, government's safety and sanitation messages were being amplified to help curb the spread of the virus in farming communities, the statement said.
With the evolution of technology, Cargill sees digitisation driving change across the entire cocoa sector and has made this one of its key strategies in its journey towards a more sustainable sector.
An extensive data platform with more than 300 data points along its supply chain was developed to collect data that could be used to inform customers through an interactive customer portal on how collaborative sustainability programmes were benefiting farmers and their communities.