6th April 2021
The TFA (Tropical Forest Alliance) and Peru’s Coalition for Sustainable Production organized the Sustainable Amazonian Cocoa Dialogue on April 6, the second in a series of national dialogues on the subject. Its objective was to discuss how sustainable cocoa could be implemented in the territories and what is needed to take advantage of global opportunities for the product.
TFA seeks an unprecedented agreement between various parties involved in the cocoa production chain in Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Together, the three countries are preparing a development plan for Amazon's Sustainable Cocoa brand. There is consensus among producers in those countries that cocoa of Amazonian origin combines attributes with the potential to attract buyers and investors interested in combating deforestation through a supply chain that promotes social inclusion and is guided by the bioeconomy.
"Cocoa from the Amazon region has the potential to have sustainable attributes with respect to the environment, the economy and social inclusion, having as core values commitments of no deforestation and no conversion", said Fabiola Zerbini, director of TFA for Latin America. "Acting collectively at the regional level, the three countries position themselves in a much stronger way to negotiate with private companies, with the global market and even countries that buy this commodity publicly."
"The challenge is that we want to make our cocoa grow, be more competitive, position itself, but not at the expense of the forest," explained Fabiola Muñoz, Coordinator of the Coalition for Sustainable Production, who also highlighted the importance and privilege of having key government actors in the event, such as the two vice ministers of the Ministry of Agrarian Development and the president of the Amazon Regional Mancommunity. “It is not easy to find so many actors with this commitment, and that is why the agreement that is being proposed on cocoa, forests and biodiversity is an extraordinary opportunity. (...) There is a sense of urgency that has to grow."
According to MIDAGRI data, the production of cocoa beans in Peru has been increasing steadily for 10 years, at an average annual rate of 14% with the participation of approximately 90,000 small producers. Regarding exports of cocoa beans, in the last 10 years, the growth rate is of the order of 15.7% per year. However, in some cases cocoa cultivation is associated with deforestation in the Amazon, although at the same time this crop has great potential to recover degraded areas.
"Within the framework of the Coalition for Sustainable Production, of which the Ministry of Agrarian Development is a member, the Forests and Biodiversity Sectorial Agreement has been drawn up in a participatory manner, where 11 leading organizations have joined", explains the Vice Minister of Development of Family Farming and Agrarian Infrastructure and Irrigation, José Alberto Muro Ventura "The agreement proposes a vision of coordinated work in favor of the differentiation of Peruvian cocoa, based on quality, diversity of attributes of origin and the sustainability of the production system."
Regarding these opportunities, Carmen Rosa Chavez, representing Midagri, indicated that Peru is currently the vice president of the International Cocoa Organization, where a project to deliver environmental bonds to producers is being implemented and in which Peru has been elected to implement it in three countries. He also explained that the challenge is to get a trust for the improvement of the small farmers' farms.
Among the next steps is being able to have a critical mass of committed actors from civil, public and private society. From the Coalition for Sustainable Production, it is estimated that we are very close to officially announcing this national agreement as a political and technical process.
A second step is to define the priorities to see how it will be implemented, where the different contributions will be needed to streamline the process. Likewise, it is necessary to identify the key regions to implement the pilots at the territory level.
The Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) is a network that brings together multiple partners around the common goal of seeking and implementing solutions to combat deforestation resulting from commercial activities in tropical forest areas. An initiative of the World Economic Forum, TFA works with government, private sector and civil society representatives, such as indigenous peoples and international organizations, to consolidate high-impact partnerships to reduce deforestation and build a positive future for forests. The TFA network, through its partners, identifies challenges and develops solutions, bringing together specialists from all over the world to transform ideas into effective actions in Latin America, Africa, China and Southeast Asia.