Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has announced that it will establish new cocoa-farming practices in Ecuador that will be climate smart and enhance sustainability, farmer productivity, and farm profitability.
The ‘Farm of the Future’ strategy is part of the company’s ‘Forever Chocolate’ plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm over the next three years.
Commenting, Pablo Perversi, chief innovation, sustainability and quality officer, and global head of the group’s gourmet arm, said, “Our Farm of the Future aims to be a contributor to the global movement on food system innovation. The establishment of this hub is a valuable vehicle for providing new opportunities for sustainable cocoa farming, innovation, and research.”
As a testing ground, Barry Callebaut has chosen a 640-hectare property located in the Cerecita Valley, between Guayaquil and the Pacific Ocean. The advancement of the infrastructure and operations will begin with the planting of cocoa seedlings on the farm’s 400 hectares of non-planted land.
Elsewhere, Steven Retzlaff, president of global cocoa at Barry Callebaut, said, “With the opening of Farm of the Future, Barry Callebaut is further strengthening its cocoa-farming research capabilities for the benefit of cocoa yield, sustainability, and quality.”
The farm, with a network of over 30 R&D centres and more than 350 R&D colleagues, aims to test farming techniques, the pre-and post-harvesting processes, fermentation control, diversification of income, and improved cost control as part of its research work.
The company also aims to employ nearly 80 people from the local area once the farm is fully operational.