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Mondelēz International and Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) are collaborating in Indonesia as part of plans to create the world’s single largest sustainable commercial cocoa farm.

According to the global snacking company, the model builds on Mondelēz International’s experience with the company’s signature sustainable sourcing program, Cocoa Life, and OFI’s ambition for sustainable cocoa, Cocoa Compass, to test a scalable approach for the future of commercial cocoa farming.

From sensors in fields to irrigation systems, the project will use advanced climate smart and plant science technology as innovations included in this 2,000-hectare cocoa farm on Seram, the largest island in Maluku province in Indonesia.

The model will test a “modernised and professional” blueprint for best practice cocoa farming, optimal land usage and farming community planning which will be explored as a potential model for replication across the region.

Indonesia is a key cocoa-producing country in the region, but farmers have struggled with rising temperatures, low yields and crop disease. Mondelēz International and OFI will tackle these problems by improving the livelihoods of partner cocoa farmers, empowering communities and restoring the environmental productivity of a previously deforested landscape.

The partnership intends to bring:

  • 700 jobs for local residents in an area which has limited income opportunities due to its isolated location. Nearly half of these employment opportunities will go to women.
  • 2,000 hectares of previously deforested brown field land, which will be planted with cocoa, shade trees, forest and fruit trees to promote biodiversity and carbon capture. More than 1,080 hectares have already been planted across the total plantation area of 3,380 hectares.
  • An area of 47 hectares which has been identified as High Conservation Value forest and is being fully protected as a vital habitat for flora and fauna.
  • A seedling nursery which can grow up to one million high-yielding cocoa seedlings each year.
  • Access to healthcare and education for all employees and their families, as well as housing, electricity, water, day care for the 200 families who live on site.

Quentin Roach, SVP Supply Chain & Chief Procurement Officer, Mondelēz International commented: “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. With nine years of measurable impact demonstrating improved farmer’s 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 customised solution.

“Creating opportunities to innovate, in partnership with our suppliers, and exploring the ability to scale high-yielding, forest-positive, income-generating approaches to commercial cocoa farming on the single largest farm of its kind offers attractive potential and is an important step forward on our journey to lead the future of a sustainable and resilient cocoa supply.”

This initiative sits alongside Mondelēz International’s existing Cocoa Life program in Indonesia and its cocoa crop science technical centre in Pasuruan.

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