The BMEL’s Commitment for Sustainable Cocoa

For Germany, one of the biggest exporters of chocolate products worldwide, cocoa as an agricultural commodity is of great economic importance. Almost ten percent of the cocoa produced worldwide is processed in Germany alone. It is thus useful to maintain the share of sustainably produced cocoa in the value-adding chain and to safeguard its availability and quality in the long term.

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has joined forces with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to work toward this goal. 2019 a 10-Point Plan for Sustainable Cocoa was presented.

The “Pro Planteurs” project, which is located in Côte d’Ivoire, started in June 2015. It supports the efforts of the 10-Point Plan and has been so successful that a follow-up project has been launched. Pro Planteurs is being implemented by the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa together with the German federal government and the Ivorian government. In a second phase (June 2020 to May 2025), 30,000 cocoa-producing family-owned businesses and their cooperatives in the southern and eastern regions of Côte d’Ivoire will be professionalised through the Pro Planteurs project. Women in particular are to be given the opportunity to enhance their personal income and to improve the food situation of their families by growing other crops. The aim is also to make cocoa farming more attractive again for young cocoa farmers and to make it more profitable. In addition, the project aims to improve the living conditions of the families on the ground by increasing their income and providing them with a more balanced diet.

German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa

Germany is leading the way with the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, which was jointly initiated by the BMEL and BMZ and chosen as the German federal government’s 2016 lighthouse project for the National Sustainable Development Strategy. The German confectionery industry, the German food trade, civil society and the federal government are actively engaged in this initiative for sustainable cocoa farming.

Together, as a so-called multi stakeholder initiative, they are aiming to improve the living conditions of cocoa farmers and their families, as well as increasing the cultivation and marketing of sustainably produced cocoa. The members of the initiative work in collaboration with the governments of the cocoa-producing countries to achieve this goal.

This initiative reinforces and fleshes out the federal government’s long-term objective that all the cocoa in cocoa products sold in Germany should originate from sustainable production. The percentage of sustainably produced cocoa in confectionary sold in Germany by members of the Initiative was successfully increased to about 85.9 percent in 2022.

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