Tradin Organic, the global supplier to organic brands and retailers, has kicked off a 2.5 million project supported by the EU to scale its sustainable cocoa project in Sierra Leone. Over the next three years, our company and its consortium of partners will work on deforestation prevention and improving cocoa farmers' livelihoods by further building regenerative agroforestry systems.
With a global workforce of more than 500 people, Tradin Organic is active globally and operates multiple factories, including a cocoa processing facility. In Sierra Leone, a team of 60 works closely with local partners and international experts to provide technical assistance to over 30,000 smallholder farmers. Tradin has received support from the RVO FBK and FVO funds and various clients like Navitas Organics and Herza Schokolade.
Over the past years, these partnerships let to set up an Agroforestry Project with Ecotop and a Child Protection Program with Child Fund. These two projects will now merge, and a EUR 1.85 million grant from the Delegation of the European Union to Sierra Leone enables the consortium to expand its work and impact.
“Although not always visible to consumers, cocoa producers like Tradin play a crucial role in ensuring chocolate products on shelves are made fairly and sustainably. Most brands do not have direct access to farmers and rely on partners like us to source the best cocoa beans in a way that generates a positive impact on the soil, biodiversity and the farmers. Through digitization up to the farmer’s field, we can now help brands show this impact to consumers”, explains Anne Floor van Dalfsen, Tradin Organic’s Sustainability Manager.
Still recovering from the effects of civil conflict and an Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone is a small exporter of cocoa compared to Ivory Coast and Ghana but unique in that it is all organic. It means no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used and that farmers protect the soil and biodiversity. To boost productivity and livelihoods whilst protecting nature and biodiversity, Tradin and its partners organize sourcing, training, seedling distribution and community projects through an intricate network of 153 Farmer Field Schools and 57 farmer-led micro-banks (VSLAs). The EU project will scale this work and explore a new income stream for the farmers from carbon sequestration credits.
Since Tradin Organic started developing its business in Sierra Leone in 2015, it has seen a steadily growing interest from organic, natural and health-focused brands and retailers across Europe and the US. To meet the needs of the US market, the sourcing project was Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC).
This new standard merges and goes beyond the Organic and Fairtrade standards and is backed by companies like Patagonia. With Tradin Organic's long-term commitments and boots on the ground, customers can ensure their sourcing supports the environment and communities behind the ingredients – and consumers can buy chocolate products to feel good about.