March 4th 2020
TFA (Tropical Forest Alliance) is sewing an unprecedented agreement between several parties involved in the cocoa production chain in Brazil, Colombia and Peru who, together, prepare a development plan for the Amazon Sustainable Cocoa brand. There is a consensus among producers in the three countries that the Amazon originated cocoa combines attributes with the potential to attract buyers and investors interested in fighting deforestation through a supply chain that promotes social inclusion and is guided by the bioeconomy.
“Cocoa grown in the Amazon contributes to the restoration of degraded lands and the reduction of deforestation”, said Fabíola Zerbini, TFA director for Latin America. “This positive narrative, which includes the potential that sustainable cultivation represents for improving the lives of local communities and farmers, has everything to become an attractive differential for global markets and a new way to protect the Amazon”.
Since the beginning of 2020, TFA Latin America has promoted a series of Dialogues that brings together various players from the public and private sectors, involved in the soy, beef and cocoa value chains. The objective is to find points of common interest that enable vertical collaboration between all and the generation of agreements for collective actions that result in the reduction of deforestation related to the production of these commodities.
In relation to cocoa, the participants of the Dialogues identified as a critical point the need to mobilize investments for the fruit whose culture has the potential to have a great positive impact in the restoration of degraded areas and in the reduction of deforestation. In 2020, one of the Cacau Dialogues was dedicated to the presentation of a broad study carried out by the Colombian organization Alisos, which mapped data on productivity, costs and market dynamics in each country, providing crucial subsidies for the development of the collective agenda that establishes the attributes that can make Amazonian cocoa a differentiated product for global markets.
“The Amazon is one of the regions with the greatest potential for the new cocoa crop in Colombia,” added Wendy Arenas, Director for Alisos Foundation and Director of the Technical Secretariat for the Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative. “We have the opportunity to develop Amazon originated cocoa that is sustainable, with zero deforestation and differentiated, by promoting cocoa productive models that protect and restore forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and help consolidate peace in our country”.
“The Amazonian countries have the great challenge of positioning themselves globally with a differentiated production of cocoa that is profitable for the producing families and contributes to a positive relationship with the forests and their ecosystem, where agriculture is intensive in productivity but not in extension of lands”, commented José Yturrios, from Aliança Cacau Peru. "The challenge of building a market for sustainable cocoa must be answered in an articulated way between our countries, considering the dynamics of the market and its trends on a global level".
The Amazon region brings together the most diverse cocoa in the world in terms of genetics, flavor and different species. Native to the region, the fruit has been part of Amazonian culture for over 14 thousand years, being cultivated and worshiped by several indigenous communities over time.
The combination of location, genetics, agricultural practices and benefits can mean obtaining high quality cocoa, under sustainability practices, landscape connectivity and according to cultural behaviors consistent with the area. This can lead to the production of cocoa at higher prices and higher added value.
“This project is innovative in the sense that it seeks the development of a new product and a new market”, highlighted Fabíola Zerbini. “The objective is not to meet an existing demand, but to build a demand. Combined with the aspects that differentiate Amazonian cocoa, there is the need to talk to all the actors involved in the domestic market and also, with indigenous communities and farming families. It is from this intense dialogue, from the shared ideas, that the development of a strategic and practical proposal arises that must include technical support, infrastructure, credit, and certifications, which will result in significant improvements in logistics and an increase in productivity and profitability”.
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.