Being present at origin allows us to help farmers cultivate a more resilient, productive food system. Besides bringing in financing and managing community and social projects, our biggest contribution is in agricultural services to improve the soil and biodiversity of the farmer’s fields. If any of our staff across the world spots an improvement opportunity, we work to set up a Technical Assistance project, for example to train farmers in new practices from pruning to vermicomposting, or to provide seedlings and agroforestry designs. The result is win-win; higher yields and (diversified) income for farmers, more stable sources of higher volume and/or quality for us and our clients.
Sierra Leone is our flagship project. Over the past years, we have built a strong support infrastructure with Farmer Field Schools, Farmer Service Centers, nurseries and demo-plots. At first the focus was on good organic agricultural practices, reviving unmanaged farms and increasing production. Now, the focus is on building dynamic agroforestry systems to further improve soil health, quality, yields and diversify crops and farmer income.
The coops we work with are Fairtrade certified, but we also run an additional program to support the farmers in financial management. Together with Child Fund Sierra Leone, we have set up Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLA's). A VSLA is a self-managed, micro-financing farmer group. Each VSLA has 30 members who pool their savings throughout the year and loan to each other against no or low interest. These actions allow them to buy equipment, hire workers when needed and pay for school fees at the start of the year - without needing to take out loans with unfavourable terms that get them into debt. There are now 57 VSLAs established in just over 50 villages connected to our Farmer Field Schools. This is part of our Child Protection Program, as the key driver of child labour is poverty and indeptedness, and VSLAs are proving to be a great mechanism to prevent this.
Find our full cocoa sustainability report here.
One of our latest projects in Ethiopia is focused on planting new avocado trees where farmers have space, having planted about 75,000 seedlings at around 3,000 so far. With our partner in this project Farmforce and the support of the Nordic Climate Facility, we are training field staff to create digital profiled for the farmers and their fields, so the development of the seedlings can be monitored and tracked. We are also collaborating with eEsti to explore how the farmers could claim carbon credits based on the carbon this new growth sequesters. Watch our joint video to learn more!
Our sourcing projects page shows our sourcing projects across the world, with below some additional impact highlights:
Crown of Holland: at our cocoa processing factory in The Netherlands, we currently use purchased electricity and natural gas for energy. We are working with and engineering firm to utilize cocoa shells as an alternative source of energy, with the goal of replacing all natural gas. The shells are a waste stream that is currently redirecting to local cattle farmers for feed and garden centers for organic fertilization. The potential for solar panels at this factory is minimal, because of fire safety regulations for cocoa production facilities.
Suncomo Foods: at out sunflower kernel & oil factory in Bulgaria, we already have a biomass installation in operation. Hulls are burned, which produces steam that is used in the processing. To further reduce purchased electricity, solar panels are being installed on the roof of the factory during 2023.
Sunvado: our avocado-oil factory in Ethiopia is also looking into waste stream valorization - from creating new products from by-streams (like the pit of the avocado’s) to exploring options for biomass installation. A team of students from Hawassa University supports these explorations and calculations, helping us towards optimal energy solutions and circularity.
Tradin Organic Agriculture B.V.
Stationsplein 61 - 65
1012AB Amsterdam, NL