Our actions in Ivory Coast
Côte d'Ivoire, located in West Africa, is considered to be a leading cocoa-producing country. Since 2014, Valrhona has been working with Coopérative Agricole Persévérance de Dibobly-Guezon (CAPEDIG), a farming cooperative and member of the Union des Sociétés Coopératives Kimbê (ECOOKIM), which unites 29 cocoa- and cashew-producing cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire.
In 2018, Valrhona and ECOOKIM signed a 5-year partnership that formalized our agreement to source our cocoa supplies from CAPEDIG. In Côte d’Ivoire, 100% of our cocoa beans can be traced back to our partner-producers, whose plantations we have successfully mapped. This level of traceability enables us to know exactly where our cocoa comes from, ensure it isn’t linked to deforestation, and offer communities targeted support projects.
Supporting access to education: a priority for Valrhona
Since 2014, we’ve funded new buildings for public elementary schools in three communities, supporting the education of 598 students. Building a cafeteria in Petit Bouaké will enable the children to eat at school by 2022.
In 2018, we inaugurated a training center where all members of the ECOOKIM Union’s cooperatives can learn about best agricultural, environmental, and social practices.
In spring 2021, with ECOOKIM’s support, the Valrhona Foundation also successfully built an elementary school and cafeteria in Kouameblekro - Konedougou village, in addition to the Nadjette – Guinglo-zia school. These public spaces adhere to the Ivorian school curriculum and welcome 213 and 236 students respectively. Building the cafeteria helped us to achieve several objectives. First and foremost, it guarantees the children food security and helps them to stay focused in the afternoon, as they no longer need to walk long distances to have their lunch at home. It also creates a virtuous economy, as the cafeteria’s fruit and vegetables are grown and supplied by local women. Women in the community also prepare the children’s meals.
These projects meet the priority needs identified by CAPEDIG and are perfectly aligned with the Valrhona Foundation’s mission to promote education in rural settings, help children to succeed at school, and combat child labor.
Improving communities’ quality of life also means making a financial commitment
All of these initiatives are enhancing the appeal of the CAPEDIG cooperative, and its members have doubled over the last year alone. All farmers are Fairtrade- and Rainforest Alliance- / UTZ-certified. Since the fall in cocoa prices in 2017, we have paid farmers a premium to keep the price of their cocoa at its highest level since 2012. We cover distribution fees and use an independent third party to guarantee that 100% of the premiums we pay go straight to our partner-producers.