CHICAGO — Mondelez International, Inc. and Olam Food Ingredients, a business of Olam International, are collaborating to create what the companies call the world’s single largest sustainable commercial cocoa farm. The 2,000-hectare (4,942-acre) farm will feature such technologies as irrigation systems and sensors in fields. It will be in Seram, the largest island in Maluku province in Indonesia.
Previously deforested brown field land will be planted with cocoa, shade trees, forest and fruit trees to promote biodiversity and carbon capture. More than 1,800 hectares already have been planted across the total plantation area of 3,800 hectares.
A seedling nursery is expected to grow up to 1 million cocoa seedlings each year. The 200 families who will live on the site will be given access to health care, education, housing, electricity, water and day care. The partnership aims to create 700 jobs for local residents.
Chicago-based Mondelez already operates Cocoa Life, which was launched in 2012 as a $400 million investment to create a sustainable future for cocoa.
“As one of the world’s leading chocolate makers, we’re on a mission to make cocoa right and to secure a sustainable future for an ingredient essential to our business,” said Quentin Roach, senior vice president of supply chain and chief procurement officer at Mondelez International. “With nine years of measurable impact demonstrating improved farmers’ livelihoods and reduced environmental impact of cocoa farming through our signature sustainable sourcing program, Cocoa Life, we’re excited to leverage our know-how in a collaborative approach to sustainable raw material sourcing with a geographically customized solution.”
Olam Food Ingredients supplies cocoa beans and cocoa ingredients, including cocoa powder, cocoa butter and cocoa liquor.
“This could be truly game-changing for the future of cocoa in Indonesia and beyond,” said Gerard A. Manley, chief executive officer of Olam Food Ingredients’ cocoa business. “We would like to thank the regional and national governments of Indonesia for their support. Ever since we launched our first sustainability program in the country more than 16 years ago, we have been committed to supporting Indonesian cocoa farmers while also protecting the environment.”