Cocoa Sustainability

Sustainable cocoa farming: what does it really mean?

We have a moral and social obligation to the environment, the people we work with and the local communities we interact with.

Our philosophy is fully dedicated to the growth of cocoa sustainability while continuously adapting to this fast growing cocoa value chain challenges in growing and trading of cocoa.

Sustainability is in the heart of our business model and by integrating sustainability into every aspect of our business model, Kemofina in cooperation with domestic LBCs in Ghana is able to procure from small holder farmers, and in turn connect them to markets, resources and knowledge.

Through this vertically integrated certification programs, farmers are given access to credit, fertilizers, machinery, benefits & training, traceability and certification programs.

One of the leading models towards achieving sustainability is UTZ certification and/or Fairtrade which Kemofina has adopted in collaboration with leading international chocolate brands, cocoa grinders, traders and NGOs.

UTZ Certified is one of the largest sustainability programs and labels for the sustainable farming of coffee, cocoa and tea. It ensures that these agri-commodities can be traced back to the farmers who produced them, and that these farmers are growing better crops, generating more income and creating better opportunities, while safeguarding the environment. For more information, please visit

Fairtrade Certification is internationally recognized and credible standard for sustainable production designed to tackle poverty and empower producers in the poorest countries in the world and contribute to social, economic, and environmental sustainability in agriculture. The standards apply to both producers and traders. To read more about Fairtrade, please visit

There is plenty of discussion about the need for more sustainable farming in both West Africa and further afield, but what is sustainable farming in reality, how can it be implemented? How can the products of sustainable farming be certified, and will this benefit farmers in Ghana’s cocoa sector?

What is sustainable farming?

Essentially, sustainable farming is intended to ensure that agricultural practices can be carried out over a longer term period, without damage to the productivity of the farm or to the wider environment. It has been recognized that environmental damage caused by farming can, in turn, affect the productivity of the farms themselves. For example, the use of pesticides and fertilizers can inflict long term environmental damage.

Sustainable farms work to maintain the quality of soil and water and of the crops themselves by using best practices. This also allows them to improve the quality of life of the farmers, their families, and wider rural communities. Sustainable farms make use of modern labour practices and do not use child labour.

Cocoa, while an important crop for Ghana’s economy, faces particular threats in the form of poor soil fertility management, aging tree stocks, improper use of chemicals, and uncontrolled deforestation.

Sustainability is the key to the future of African cocoa

Sustainable farming will play a large part in the future of Ghana’s agriculture - if global demand for cocoa is to be met and if farmers are to benefit economically from this increasing demand - the cocoa industry must deliver more in terms of training, fertilizers, equipment and expertise to producers. As one of the participants in the supply chain, we recognize that Kemofina has to have a role in that process.

Sustainable farming in Ghana’s cocoa industry

Kemofina AG is one of the participants in the cocoa farming sector in Ghana though certified sustainability projects on the ground. In cooperation with domestic Licensed Buying Companies in Ghana that have existing relationships with cocoa farmer unions means that we are able to work with farmers to develop sustainable practices in the West African cocoa sector. This includes providing finance, training, equipment and supplies that can enable farmers to approach cocoa using internationally recognized sustainable farming applications.

Cocoa is a particularly important crop for Ghana economically, and it is vital that Ghana cocoa farmers maintain farms that will continue to support future generations without harming the rural ecosystem. Sustainable farming can also enhance overall productivity and ensure a better quality crop is achieved.

Kemofina AG together with appointed domestic LBCs for a particular certification project have a dedicated education and training team of cocoa experts that travel the country, helping to answer farmers’ questions about the latest best practices and advising on how they can certify their crops under widely accepted international schemes.

Certifying sustainable cocoa

Consumers of cocoa are increasingly demanding that companies source crops that come from sustainable farms. This is part of a global effort to ensure farming is less harmful to both the environment and local communities. A range of major global food firms like Ferrero, Mars, Modelez and Nestle have already expressed their support for an international program, and more are signing up all the time.

Called UTZ Certified and Fairtrade, these programs has been adopted and supported by major partners in the global cocoa, tea and coffee trades. It includes food manufacturers, participants in the supply chain, and farmers themselves. The certificate is applied to cocoa that comes from their farms, and is a mark of guarantee that they have been using recognized sustainable farming practices.

The ultimate aim of the program is to ensure that sustainable cocoa can be traced from the product on the shelf to the farm that harvested it and that ongoing monitoring and inspection of farms can be carried out regularly. Cocoa farmers must be prepared not only to implement sustainable practices, but to ensure they continue to comply with them on an ongoing basis.

Kemofina in cooperation with domestic LBCs, though its UTZ certification and/or Fairtrade sustainability projects in Ghana, train and equip cocoa farmers, advising them on how their crops can meet the certification standards of sustainability. This includes helping farmers to meet the challenge of pests in a manner that will help their cocoa plants prospect in the medium to long term.

UTZ certification and Fairtrade are the independent global programs for sustainable farming in the cocoa, coffee and tea sectors. Working with major buyers of end crops, the UTZ program and Fairtrade aim to help end producers learn better farming methods, enhance their standards of living, safeguard the environment and grow better crops. It is independently monitored to ensure proper environmental standards, working conditions and child protection policies are being met.

A global standard with local impact

While UTZ Certified was introduced in 2002 to cover the coffee market, its use has become widespread in the global cocoa marketplace. Certified cocoa is likely to command a higher price from international buyers and ensure a better income for farmers and their families in the future. The number of farmers in Ghana who have been granted UTZ certification is increasing all the time, and with it improving the quality and efficiency of Ghana’s cocoa farms and farming communities.

For more information on Kemofina’s activities in UTZ-certified and Fairtrade cocoa farming, please email


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