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Frequently asked questions

What is the aim of the Growing Great Chocolate™ programme?
Most of the world’s cocoa is grown in West Africa, in some of the world’s poorest regions. People’s incomes depend on agriculture and natural resources. Cocoa, being a complex crop, demands the right conditions, great care and special technique. In addition, easier-to-grow cash crops such as rubber outcompete cocoa cultivation.
Understanding that these factors put the future of cocoa under strain, Callebaut® has started the Growing Great Chocolate programme, a direct partnership with cocoa farmer cooperatives to turn cocoa cultivation into a sustainable source of income for cocoa farmers and their families.

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How does Callebaut® contribute to a higher income for cocoa farmers?
We have established direct relationships with selected farmer cooperatives in West Africa, together representing about 40,000 cocoa farmers. Since Callebaut® pays for the cocoa beans directly to the cooperatives, the farmers get a guaranteed fair price, without having to share with middlemen and traders.

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How does our partnership with the farmers work?
The aim of the partnership between Callebaut® and cocoa farmer cooperatives is to turn cocoa cultivation into a direct and sustainable source of income for cocoa farmers and their families.
Firstly, the cooperative is audited, then required to sign a charter, which is signed mutually by Callebaut® and the participating cooperative. Each party then commit itself to a code of conduct that supports sustainable cocoa cultivation. These include mutual commitments to work together and improve the quality of the cocoa, the farms and the living standards of farmers and their families.

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What exactly do we teach the farmers?

In farmer field schools, farmers in the participating cooperatives are trained on better cultivation methods and agricultural practices.
Member farmers learn integral aspects of cocoa farming such as:

  • healthy soil management techniques
  • switching from monoculture to mixed cultivation
  • rejuvenating the plantations with new trees and grafting techniques
  • minimising chemical use
  • natural pest control
  • weeding and pruning
  • tree rejuvenation
  • crop diversity.

Sound production is the first step towards growing quality cocoa, and improving the crop quality and quantity in these countries sustains both the crops and farmers’ cocoa growing.

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How do we guarantee that the price we pay for the cocoa beans is fair?
The cocoa farmer cooperatives can sell their crops to the highest bidder on the market. In this way they get the best price for their cocoa beans. It also allows them to invest in equipment, logistics and other integral elements of the process.

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What does Growing Great Chocolate™ do for your business?
With Callebaut® Finest Belgian Chocolate, you now offer sustainable guarantees to your customers. That’s because every chocolate supports cocoa beans from sustainable cultivation.

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What can you claim on your products?
For your creations made with Callebaut® Finest Belgian Chocolate you can now add a sticker or an insert on the packaging, claiming: Supports sustainably grown cocoa.

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What does this transparency mean for you?
With Callebaut® Finest Belgian Chocolate, you can now be sure that each cocoa bean used in your block or Callets™ supports cocoa farmer cooperatives that grow sustainable cocoa.

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What’s the effect on your chocolate?
Today, we are one of the few chocolate makers to guarantee great chocolate tomorrow too. We aim to keep our promise of Finest Belgian Chocolate with its renowned great taste, quality and workability, today and in the future. This is only possible by actively engaging in cocoa cultivation and partnering with the cocoa farmer cooperatives. No other Belgian chocolate maker goes that far.

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Is the Growing Great Chocolate™ programme a certification programme?
Growing Great Chocolate™ is a Callebaut® programme. It interacts directly with cocoa farmer cooperatives. It focuses on growing quality cocoa and turning cocoa cultivation into a sustainable source of income for farmers. By signing a charter, both Callebaut® and selected cooperatives commit to best practices and ethical codes that support sustainable cocoa cultivation. Chefs working with Callebaut® Finest Belgian Chocolate can therefore use the claim “Our chocolate supports sustainably grown cocoa“ without having to apply for a certificate.

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What is the difference between the Growing Great Chocolate™ programme and Fairtrade?
Callebaut® values the Fairtrade philosophy and supports its development of disadvantaged small-scale farmers. That is why we have incorporated Fairtrade certified chocolate in our wide offering. Inspired by the Fairtrade ambitions for a variety of crops, Callebaut® expands its dedication to cocoa cultivation. Growing Great Chocolate™ aims at improving the quality of cocoa beans, ensuring higher incomes for the farmers and supporting local communities to improve their livelihoods.

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Why isn’t all Callebaut® chocolate sustainable?
This development is a first, huge step. Our biggest chocolate range – Finest Belgian Chocolate – now supports sustainably grown cocoa. For other chocolates, such as Origin or Finest Selection, we need to source cocoa beans in other regions outside this programme to create the unique taste sensations of these chocolates. Our aim is of course to extend the scope of our sustainable sourcing programme to more countries and regions over time.

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Is Growing Great Chocolate™ unique?
Callebaut® is the only Belgian chocolate couverture maker with dedicated expertise from bean to chocolate. This expertise now extends even further, to our commitment in sustainable cocoa cultivation. It makes this programme possible and unique.

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How do we keep the programme growing?
To ensure the implementation and continuous improvement of the Growing Great Chocolate™ programme, Callebaut® sets well-defined targets and benchmarks. We work to continuously increase the volumes, number of farmer field schools, access to cooperative management training, financing and overall contributions to education and health care.

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