The chocolate tree story. Cocoa Life India
Cocoa Life helps communities thrive in six key cocoa-growing origins―Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia, India, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. We are helping them gain knowledge and skills to improve their livelihoods, strengthen their communities and inspire the next generation of cocoa farmers.
Cocoa Life is built on the vision that empowered thriving cocoa farming communities are the essential foundation for sustainable cocoa farming. Our interventions in three areas of Sustainable cocoa farming businesses, empowered cocoa communities and Conserved and restored forests is forging a unique partnership among cocoa stakeholders.
The journey of Cocoa Life in India began in 1965, when an experimental cocoa farm was set up in the state of Kerala by Mondelēz as cocoa was not native to India.
After proving its viability, commercial cultivation of cocoa expanded to the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
With the need to increase production, productivity and to cope up with the new pest and diseases in an introduced crop like cocoa, research on cocoa became crucial. Hence, Mondelēz cocoa life program supported cocoa research in key agricultural universities. This enabled the release of superior varieties for cocoa expansion in the country. A fruit of this successful partnership is the high cocoa productivity achieved in India Vs other cocoa growing countries. The program has successfully transformed the lives of over 100,000 farmers in the 4 southern Indian states while opening doors to newer farming practices like intercropping, thereby providing additional income to the farmers through Inter-cropping cocoa in Coconut, Oil-palm and other crops.
Mondelez India Cocoa Life team is actively involved in conducting Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) training to around 25,000 cocoa farmers annually through various outreach modes like farm meetings, seminars, cocoa van meetings and cocoa educational series through visual media. The GAP trainings complement the agri research contribution by the transfer of technology to the farmers thereby India achieving the best cocoa productivity. Active encouragement of Cocoa farmers to adopt Good Environmental Practices (GEP) like adoption of Organic fertilizers, usage of Bio-control agents and usage of Drip Irrigation to rationalize water usage made positive impact on Environment. Also, with direct farm gate procurement of cocoa avoids middlemen and the farmers realizes the best price for their produce.
Women play an important but often unrecognized role in cocoa production. Empowering women in cocoa-growing communities increases the positive impact and is a catalyst for change and drives faster community development. Cocoa provides employment and income to thousands of women in rural areas as cocoa is a women friendly crop and most of the work in cocoa farms can be managed by women. Through the India Cocoa Life program, we gave exclusive training to over 2500 women in Health & Hygiene, Livelihood, Empowerment and Farming.
Marginalized tribal farmers in remote locations were undertaking agriculture in an unscientific manner with meagre returns. The Cocoa Life team started working with the identified tribal communities taking the cocoa planting material to their remote farms and teaching them to plant and nurture the cocoa plants through GAP training.
The initiative successfully enrolled more than 3000 marginalized tribal farmers into cocoa program. The tribal farmers were grouped into clusters and were supported with agri equipment to undertake necessary cultivation operations as a group. Cocoa collection centres were opened by Mondelēz very near to their hamlets for easy sale and to facilitate immediate payment for their cocoa produce.
The Mondelez India Cocoa Life program also supports education of children of cocoa farmers and farm workers. As part of the community work, special focus has been given to upgrading school with the Sports for Development program for school children which ensures they stay back in school and remain fit and active. The program has been able to make an impact to over 5500 children in the remote cocoa locations