Digital solutions provider Farmforce has partnered with Fairtrade International and Fairtrade Africa to apply their technical solution to the issue of traceability in Ivorian Cocoa farms. It was recently announced that they would be extending their new data management system to over two dozen Cocoa cooperatives across Côte d’Ivoire.

Traceability through to the last mile has proven to be a real challenge for Cocoa cooperatives seeking to determine precisely where and under what conditions their Cocoa comes from. With the issues of deforestation and child labour prominent in discussions around Cocoa, it is increasingly important for those invested in the industry to be able to trace their products back to the source.

The partnership between Farmforce and Fairtrade, initially introduced as a pilot in April 2021, has culminated in the launch of a smart Internal Management System (IMS) that collects data on farms, production and sales and provides it to member cooperatives. Typically, the company collects the data through the use of barcodes on Cocoa bags. With this data, cooperatives are expected to be better at managing risks such as deforestation and child labour.

In the latest update just last month, the partnership announced its expansion to now includes an additional 25 cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire. Close to 400 people will also be trained on the proper usage of Farmforce’s software to ensure that the cooperatives and their members efficiently utilise the technology. 

Our primary mission during this scale-up phase is to ensure that the involved cooperatives are enabled to use Farmforce effectively, leading to long-term benefits for their businesses and for their members.

Ultimately, the focus for us is to ensure greater efficiency in cooperative management based on the principles of FairData, or the implementation of fairness in data distribution and ownership.

Jon Walker, Senior Advisor for Cocoa, Fairtrade International. 

Those involved are hopeful that the new system will provide a significant improvement to Cocoa bean traceability for the “first mile” of the supply chain ⁠— this includes the ability to map farms and manage the subsequent data. With traceability being such a key factor in the fight for sustainable and ethical Cocoa farming, it is expected that the cooperatives taking part will hold a stronger position as trading partners as a result. This will be even more powerful as markets such as Europe tighten regulations surrounding human rights and environmental concerns.

The technology includes a new data collection tool that will allow cooperatives to gather data on members’ households, productivity and training. The data is to be used to improve the cooperatives’ business operations and to assess and negate risks of deforestation and child labour.

Our digital solutions provide organisations with the confidence to secure sustainable sourcing, improve farmer quality of life, and protect the environment. Together with Fairtrade, we are giving the cooperatives the ability to own their data and professionally manage the information they share with their customers

Anne Jorun Aas, CEO of Farmforce.

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