Barry Callebaut completes takeover of certified cocoa bean supplier

by Eric Schroeder
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Barry Callebaut has acquired the remaining 51% of Biolands Group, its longtime supplier of certified cocoa beans from East and West Africa. Barry Callebaut has been purchasing 100% of Biolands’ top-grade cocoa since 2000, and acquired a 49% stake in Tanzanian-based Biolands International in 2008. Since then, the model has been replicated in Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire through the establishment of Bio-United and Biopartenaire. With the complete takeover of the Biolands Group, 143 full-time employees have joined the Barry Callebaut Group.

“The complete takeover of Biolands brings Barry Callebaut even closer to thousands of farmers committed to sustainable cocoa production,” said Daudi Lelijveld, vice-president of sustainable cocoa at Barry Callebaut. “Biolands has championed quality cocoa, transparent pricing and fair business practices since it first started working with cocoa farmers in Tanzania more than 13 years ago. We look forward to accelerating our work together with farmers to identify pragmatic and scalable solutions to address the gaps in knowledge, materials and financing which today limit the ability of farmers throughout Africa to realize productivity gains and improve livelihoods.”

Barry Callebaut said the acquisition of Biolands fits well with its strategy to become a leader in sustainable cocoa, and gain access to individual farmers in addition to cooperatives. In March 2012, Barry Callebaut launched “Cocoa Horizons,” a 40 million Swiss franc cocoa sustainability initiative to boost farm productivity, increase quality and improve family livelihoods in key cocoa producing countries in Africa and Asia over the next 10 years. The Initiative builds upon Barry Callebaut’s own Quality Partner Program (QPP), which was launched in 2005.
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