Global chocolate, bakery and patisserie ingredients expert, Puratos, has launched a new agroforestry project, in partnership with PUR projet. The new initiative forms part of Puratos’ in-house Cacao-Trace scheme; a sustainable cocoa sourcing programme supporting cocoa smallholder farmers. It also aids Puratos’ efforts to ensure its business operations are carbon neutral by 2025.
The agroforestry project will be implemented in five countries where Puratos sources cocoa; the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Ivory Coast, Vietnam and Mexico – where the Cacao-Trace programme launched last month. The project will see Puratos plant 300,000 trees a year until 2023, with planting already underway in the Philippines and Vietnam.
The overall aim of the agroforestry project is to create a business model resilient to climate change and improve farmers’ livelihoods.
Franck Cassé, Environmental Sustainability Programme Manager at Puratos, added: “Both Puratos and the Cacao-Trace farmers benefit from the community-based approach to implement agroforestry models within cocoa parcel led by PUR projet. The trees will capture CO2, helping Puratos to achieve its ambitious goal. The cocoa farmer benefits in three main ways: the shade reduces disease outbreaks and increases biodiversity to enhance cacao pollination, leading to a stabilisation of yields; it creates extra sources of revenue by selling the fruits & the trees fertilise the soil, reducing the farmers expenses on fertilisers.”
Daniel Jongejan – PUR Projet’s Sr. Program Manager, said: “Over the past decades we have seen extensive deforestation all over the world. The livelihoods of cocoa farmers are significantly impacted by the effects of climate change, which are accelerated by deforestation. Puratos is leading the way in undertaking actions to ensure cocoa will be available for the next generations to come by diversifying income sources of farmers and protecting natural resources. We are delighted to launch our novel Insetting via Agroforestry program with Puratos, in which we are creating positive socio-environmental impacts in the lives of thousands of cocoa farmers embedded in Puratos’ supply chain, while compensating the carbon emissions of the company.”
Further investment in Mexico, saw a new post-harvest centre erected in the state of Tabasco, the heart of the Mexican cocoa region, last month. This will run alongside newly built fermentation and drying facilities in Comalcalco. After the farmers collect Trinitario cocoa “en baba” (fresh white cocoa beans), an expert team will oversee the fermentation process, which takes place in wooden boxes and lasts six days in order to craft the powerful flavours of chocolate of this origin. The beans will then be gently sun-dried, bagged and stored in optimal conditions to preserve their quality.