GROOT-BIJGAARDEN, BELGIUM — Puratos, Groot-Bijgaarden, inaugurated a cocoa collection and fermentation plant in the San Pedro province in Ivory Coast. Created in partnership with the French chocolate maker, Cémoi, this confirms Puratos’ strong commitment to long-term sustainability of Ivorian cocoa.
The official opening ceremony of the cocoa collection and fermentation plant (CCFP), took place on the site near Adjamené village. The ceremony was attended by around 400 farmers from the cooperative, Puratos and Cémoi teams and local dignitaries.
“Through this partnership of two family-owned companies, CEMOI and Puratos team up to reinforce the cocoa network in Ivory Coast,” said Patrick Poirrier, president of the CEMOI Group. “This commitment is in line with the CEMOI sustainability vision to promote a traceable aromatic cocoa with respect for the people who grow it and the environment where they live.”
The first Puratos cocoa collection and fermentation plant was opened in November 2013 in Vietnam. Ivory Coast is the logical location for a second plant; the country, the world’s largest grower, will produce 1.55 million tons of cocoa in 2014-15, according to ICCO (the International Cocoa Organization). In doing so, Puratos will help accelerate the development of the sustainable cocoa supply chain, encouraging direct contacts with farmers communities to ensure full traceability for better livelihoods.
“Puratos believes sustainability is a win-win relationship for every actor in the cocoa supply chain, from the farmers to the consumers,” said Eddy Van Belle, chairman of the board of Puratos Group. “Through better productivity, quality and returns to farmers, community development is improved, farmers are empowered and continue to grow cocoa, and chocolate can be enjoyed for many years to come. As a medium-sized user of cocoa beans and cocoa products from all over the world, Puratos Group is keen on securing future supplies of high-quality cocoa beans processed as part of a sustainable system.”
The CCFP is a community center and post-harvest center. Farmers from the cooperative can bring their wet beans for fermentation, drying and bagging for export. By handling the post-harvest process, Puratos gains full control over the quality of the cocoa products, to guarantee a constant taste profile of its chocolates solutions. In return, the farmers get a better income, as well as find support services offered by Puratos such as training.
“Through our work with Cémoi, we believe Ivory Coast can produce great quality cocoa,” Mr. Van Belle said. “That is why we provide training focused on quality management, as a good chocolate cannot be made without the best cocoa beans.”
The CCFP also plays a social role for local communities. It provides the center with access to electricity and drinkable water through the installation of a drilling system. This initiative will improve the livelihoods of families around and ensure good working conditions for the workers of the center.This initiative is part of Puratos’ Cacao-Trace initiative, its unique sustainable certification dedicated to partnering directly with farmers and working closely with them. Already active in Vietnam and Ivory Coast, the goal of Cacao-Trace is to secure long-term cocoa production and sustainable development in the whole supply chain. It not only covers the three pillars of sustainable development — social, environmental and economic — but also quality and traceability requirements. Cacao-Trace aims to upscale the livelihoods of the farmers by improving their income with quality premiums and providing them agricultural training. This allows them to increase yields and to develop an entrepreneurial spirit for future generations. Investments in cocoa collection and fermentation plants are one of the ways Puratos is able to implement its Cacao-Trace in producing countries.