As part of ongoing efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable cocoa sector, Cargill has entered a multi-year research agreement with vertical farming pioneer and leader AeroFarms.

This latest research collaboration brings together AeroFarms’ expertise in controlled environment agriculture, with Cargill’s knowledge of cocoa agronomy and production practices.

Both organisations will experiment with different indoor growing technologies including aeroponics and hydroponics, light, carbon dioxide, irrigation, nutrition, plant space and pruning to identify the optimal conditions for cocoa tree growth.

These findings are expected to provide new insights, targeting factors such as faster tree growth and greater yields, accelerated development of varieties with enhanced pest and disease resistance, and unlocking the cocoa bean’s full flavour and colour potential. Cargill predicts that these outcomes will help secure the future supply of cocoa beans in the face of climate change.

Niels Boetje, Managing Director Cargill Cocoa Europe, said: “Environmental challenges and growing demand for cocoa products are placing increased pressure on the global cocoa supply chain.

“Through partnerships with research institutes, universities, and innovative companies like AeroFarms, we are collaborating across sectors in bold experiments to bring greater productivity and resiliency to traditional cocoa farming operations. We look forward to sharing our findings with the farmer cooperatives in our cocoa supply chain to help ensure a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come.”