Chocoa 2024: Sustainability in the cocoa sector

Daria Hinostroza Prado champions women’s inclusion in cacao work as a key member of the women-led Qori Warmi cacao cooperative in Peru that is supported by Corus organization Lutheran World Relief.

Chocoa 2024: Sustainability in the cocoa sector

Corus International is proud to sponsor the 2024 Chocoa conference to advance environmental responsibility and private sector collaboration in the cocoa and chocolate industries. Building on Corus organization Lutheran World Relief’s long history of innovation and partnership with farmers, cooperatives, companies and governments in the cocoa sector, we are committed to increasing cocoa productivity and strengthening sustainable livelihoods. 

In our cocoa work, we employ a climate-smart agricultural value chain approach that improves access to inputs and technical resources, strengthens local capacity, expands post-harvest processing, and provides greater access to export markets. We believe in helping cocoa farmers and their families earn a living income while increasing opportunities for women and youth. Through our work with extension training, sustainability research and deployment of digital tools such as Cacao Móvil, we are reaching tens of thousands of new farmers with improved techniques and technologies.

Recently harvested cacao pods

Recently harvested cacao pods from the community of La Florida, Peru.

Highlights from our global cocoa work

Lutheran World Relief works across the globe to strengthen sustainable supply chains and markets to create opportunities for a new generation of cacao farmers. For example, we lead cacao programming for the Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) project, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a consortium led by Technoserve. Across six countries in Latin America, we use a market systems approach to promote cacao production that focuses on increasing crops yields through agroforestry systems, improving cacao quality, enhancing the professional capacity of both farmers and producer organizations, and facilitating linkages between buyers and sellers.  

In Peru, we are supporting cacao development work in the VRAEM region of Peru by elevating the region’s status as a sought-after cacao producer and strengthening the capacities of its farmers to grow, process and sell high-quality cacao. Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Transforming the VRAEM: The Land of Fine Flavor Cacao project benefits farmers with training in climate-smart agricultural techniques and post-harvest processing, as well as support in accessing export markets and obtaining higher prices for their crops. Through the project, Lutheran World Relief also collaborates with our established local partner – the women-led cooperative Qori Warmi – to ensure women and youth are an integral part of the project’s success.

To strengthen Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, we are also leading the Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) project. Funded by USDA’s Food for Progress Program, the five-year project increases productivity in the cacao value chain by applying climate-smart agriculture and expands the cacao market through traceability back to its source. Over 51,000 smallholder farmers will be trained, resulting in a doubling of cocoa productivity and establishing a comprehensive (farm to export) traceability system that meets global standards.

Our commitment to the cocoa sector is not just evident in our international development programming, but in our private sector investments. Ground Up Investing, Corus’ impact investing firm, uses a patient capital approach, that includes equity and debt financing, to grow mission-driven enterprises that deliver positive economic, social and environmental outcomes for smallholder farmers. Ground Up Investing has invested in several companies in the cocoa and chocolate industry that are introducing innovative business practices to achieve these aims. For instance, Uncommon Cacao has pioneered industry-leading transparent trade reporting. Additionally, To’ak Chocolate works with cacao growers and conservationists to preserve the Ecuadoran Ancient National cacao and produce some of the world's most exclusive chocolates. Latitude Chocolate in Uganda has full bean to bar vertical integration at source. These approaches are helping to transform the terms of trade for farmers while supplying sustainable, scalable and environmentally responsible cocoa and chocolate products to highly discerning buyers around the world.

By considering the potential of the cocoa and chocolate sectors to sustainably accelerate the growth of rural economies, our goal is to establish inclusive and equitable market practices that support families and communities.

Corus organization Lutheran World Relief supports cacao development work.

Raw cacao beans purchased by a subsidiary of Uncommon Cacao that were sourced from a Lutheran World Relief-supported cooperative in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.

Chocoa 2024

Join us at Chocoa from February 6-11 where our chief of party for the TRACE project, Nene Akwetey-Kodjoe, will speak about innovative efforts in Nigeria to catalyze farmer livelihoods and sustainable sourcing as a panelist on Friday’s Late Night Show. Carolina Aguilar, director of MOCCA’s cocoa programming, will also speak about our market systems approach and flavor mapping in Latin America at Friday’s Cocoa Talks.  

Make sure to stop by our trade show booth to meet the team! 

Cocoa paste is processed from raw cacao beans at a Lutheran World Relief-supported facility in Peru

Abigail Elisama Espillco Quintanilla manages a chocolate-making facility that produces chocolate bars under the brand name Tsinane from cacao grown by Qori Warmi, a women’s cacao cooperative supported by Lutheran World Relief in Peru.

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Corus International unites an array of nonprofit organizations and businesses, each with specialized expertise — from health to technology to economic development to emergency response. Our traditional and nontraditional approaches bring together the multi-dimensional, holistic solutions needed to truly achieve lasting change.  

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