The growing demand for sustainable cocoa and the European Union’s new regulations spur Peru’s transition towards a deforestation-free cocoa supply chain.
There are two types of cocoa beans: fine flavor and bulk. According to The International Cocoa Organization (2020), 75% of Peru’s total cocoa bean export is fine flavor cocoa.
Peru holds six of the ten genetic families of cocoa in the world. It represents a wide genetic diversity of fine flavor origins. Peruvian specialty chocolate has won many international prizes.
According to the Center for the Promotion of Imports (2020) the demand for specialty cocoa is growing in Europe with a significant expected increase between 2020 and 2024. Informed consumers request to know the story behind the product. There is a growing concern over regional diversity, ethical standards and quality.
The European Commission’s new policy to reduce global deforestation and forest degradation caused by European Union use of certain commodities is part of a set of EU Green Deal legislative proposals. The goal is to “stop deforestation, innovate sustainable waste management and make soils healthy for people, nature and climate”. After a review procedure this year, it will take effect in 2023.
The EU market will ban commodities that can’t prove to be “deforestation-free” and produced under applicable laws. It would also ban their export from the EU under the same conditions.
Despite international commitments from governments and promises from industry, forest destruction caused by cocoa farming is far from ceasing. The EU could no longer afford to postpone strong decisive and effective action.
In the case of Peru, the forest cover in Tambopata National Reserve and Buhuaja-Sonene National Park is shrinking. This government-protected area is Peru’s “Biodiversity Capital”. It is the natural habitat for over 50% of Peru’s mammal and bird species. It is also home to endangered and vulnerable species.
The forest loses an estimated 1,189 hectares each year.
AIDER, a Peruvian non-governmental organization, currently works with farmers to support the protection of the forest and restore the degraded lands. They implement cocoa-based agroforestry systems, stabilizing land use and stopping migratory agriculture.
PC: 2022 @AIDER — Home page
Besides, the Sustainable Production Coalition is promoting “The Cocoa, Forest and Diversity Agreement”. The Peruvian multi stakeholder platform aims at driving the transition towards a deforestation free supply chain.
The initiative has the support of 19 organizations. Companies, smallholder associations, civil society, and government agencies all work together to promote high-quality, sustainable cocoa.
The agreement has three priorities:
- Determine the year of reference for monitoring deforestation related to cocoa
- Develop tools for the monitoring and traceability of deforestation-free cocoa
- Create a service platform for smallholders transitioning to a new deforestation-free supply chain.
It’s an opportunity to create value through a business model that restores the ecosystem and increases the smallholders’ income.