Project chocolates make the difference
We informed in between the Masoala mini rainforest exosystem of Zoo Zürich about the story of a long-term commitment by Chocolats Halba, Coop and Zoo Zürich for Masoala rainforest and cocoa farmers in Madagascar The result: the first carbon-neutral, organic fair trade chocolate using premium cocoa from Madagascar. And it goes on.
"I see it as my mission to share my experiences with colleagues, because only then will the project have a sustainable impact,” says Felestin Randrianjafy, a cocoa farmer in Madagascar, who has been part of the project from the outset.
Naturaplan project chocolates make the difference
The quality of the cocoa is the key to perfect chocolate. To guarantee flavour and quality for the long term, the sustainable value chain must satisfy the highest standards. Coop, Chocolats Halba and Zoo Zurich established a project in Madagascar to promote the cultivation of premium cocoa in mixed crops and to train the cocoa farmers. Humans, animals and nature all benefit equally. The result: the first carbon-neutral, organic fair trade chocolate using premium cocoa from Madagascar.
Climate conditions in Madagascar, the balanced soil conditions on this island in the Indian Ocean, and the premium cocoa give this Coop Naturaplan chocolate a unique flavour profile. “Continuing on from the Naturaplan project chocolates from Honduras and Ecuador, we are now offering our customers another uncompromising taste experience,” says Daniel Böni, who is responsible for confectionery and savoury products at Coop.
Protecting biodiversity in Madagascar
Madagascar is known as a natural paradise. In recent years, Madagascar’s flora and fauna have been under threat from the destruction of forests. 90% of its forest has been lost, and even parts of the Masoala rainforest are affected. Agriculture, which is geared towards productivity with its reliance on monocultures, is depriving the soil of key nutrients. Soil fertility and yields are decreasing, creating a poverty trap. This is why the Madagascar project is very important. “We have been directly committed to protecting the rainforest in Madagascar for 25 years. Part of this involves showing farmers how to grow cocoa, as an alternative cultivation method to clearing the rainforest,” explains Dr. Alex Rübel, director of Zoo Zurich.
Dynamic agroforestry system: the key to sustainability
“The solution for truly sustainable cocoa cultivation lies in the dynamic agroforestry system,” explains Andreas Hasler, head of Chocolats Halba. As Agroforestry systems involve various crop plants, they promote biodiversity and store large quantities of CO2. The varied plantations and fertile soils generate a diversified, sustainable income for the cocoa farmers.
Sustainable knowledge transfer
Under the project, small-scale farmers are taught the skills needed to cultivate the valuable premium cocoa varieties Trinitario and Criollo, in combination with other local crops such as bananas, mangoes and cassava, as well as hardwood trees, in a mixed cultivation system. Adopting the ‘train the trainer’ approach, the farmers then pass on what they have learned. “I see it as my mission to share my experiences with colleagues, because only then will the project have a sustainable impact,” says Felestin Randrianjafy, a cocoa farmer in Madagascar, who has been part of the project from the outset.