There are around 14 million cocoa farmers and rural workers around the world, largely serving the demands of consumers in developed countries. Cocoa production is physically demanding and produces low yields – meaning a low financial return for farmers.
As the demand for cocoa and chocolate rises, so does the need to address many of the challenges faced by cocoa farmers in order to improve their livelihoods. A new series of standards aiming to support cocoa farmers, has just reached a crucial stage in its development.
The ISO 34101 series of standards, Sustainable and traceable cocoa beans, will specify requirements for a new management system that will promote sustainable farming. It features a dynamic farm development plan, using a stepwise approach.
The series is designed to be used by all involved in the cocoa supply chain from the farmers to the purchasers of cocoa, to other organisations involved in the sector; and aims to implement good agricultural practices, protect the environment, and improve the social conditions and livelihoods of farmers.
The Vice-Chair of ISO/TC 34/SC 18, Edouard Kouassi N’Guessan, emphasized: “Cocoa producers and cocoa consumers should reach a common definition for sustainable cocoa beans to facilitate the efforts of farmers to meet the expectations.”
A wide range of organisations and governments, in particular the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, supported the process and facilitated active participation of cocoa-producing countries in the elaboration of the drafts. The final versions are due to be published at the end of 2017.