lives and livelihoods
ADM's efforts to help improve the social, environmental and economic standing of cocoa growers, laborers and their surrounding communities in west Africa have spawned a broad range of programs and partnerships. Among them:
- The Socially and Environmentally Responsible Agricultural Practices program, or SERAP, began in 2005. Since that time, the initiative has provided more than US$6 million in financial incentives to cooperatives and individual farmers in Côte d'Ivoire that meet specific criteria for financial transparency, product-quality management, safe farming practices, responsible labor management and forest protection. During the 2005-06 growing year, approximately 6,000 growers participated in SERAP, delivering 4,000 metric tons of cocoa under the program. During the 2009-10 growing year, the number of participating farmers reached 18,000 farmers who together delivered more than 14,300 metric tons of cocoa. Moreover, an analysis of several cocoa bean quality criteria — including moisture and free fatty acid content — shows SERAP participants are regularly achieving strong results in virtually every quality category.
- The Cocoa Livelihoods Program: In 2009, ADM joined the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and several other cocoa and chocolate industry companies to announce an initiative to significantly improve the livelihoods of approximately 200,000 cocoa farming families in the west Africa nations of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and Cameroon. The program seeks to enhance farmer knowledge and competitiveness, improve crop productivity and quality, promote crop diversification and improve supply-chain efficiency by training farmers in better production techniques, crop-quality improvement and business skills.
The WCF reports that the program's accomplishments to date include the training of 4,121 farmers in replanting and diversification; the development of risk-management and financing tools; and the awarding of a major research grant to the national agricultural research institute of Côte d'Ivoire. The grant is intended to provide growers with knowledge and tools needed to revitalize older farm properties.
- The ADM Cocoa Technical Training Program, which works through cooperatives in Côte d'Ivoire to teach cocoa growers about labor practices, farm safety, HIV/AIDS prevention, operational transparency, bean quality and environmental stewardship. The program also offers business training to managers of farmer cooperatives, as well as financial support in the form of seed money at the beginning of the growing season and zero-interest revolving credit throughout the year. More than 23,700 growers have attended ADM Technical Training seminars since the year 2000, and it is estimated that the program has indirectly reached 237,000 members of the region's farming population.
These objectives complement those we have helped to advance through the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture's Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP), and through the Ivorian School Canteen Program.
- The Sustainable Tree Crops Program's Farmer Field Schools have educated thousands of cocoa farmers about labor standards, business practices and farming methods. To help reach more farmers with these important messages, ADM provides opportunities for farmers from participating cooperatives to attend the STCP's "Train the Trainer" Field Schools. These programs prepare attendee farmers to serve as technical advisors capable of sharing information among thousands of additional co-op members once they have completed the program. The World Cocoa Foundation reports that since 2003, a total of 121,434 farmers have benefited from training.
- Meanwhile, with an eye toward nurturing and nourishing stronger cocoa-growing communities, ADM supports the Ivorian School Canteen Program to improve nutrition and school attendance. Working with the United Nations World Food Programme and the Ivorian Ministry of Education, ADM provides direct financial support and in-kind donations of protein for inclusion in meals served at schools. The availability of nutritious meals provides a compelling incentive for parents to send their children to school.