African Trade Winds (ATW) is Cocoasource subsidiary in Uganda where it is one of the leading cocoa exporters. In 2021, ATW teams have supported three farmer groups in the process of becoming Rainforest Alliance and Organic certified: Nyahuka, Kasawo and Semuliki.
Today, 3’486 farmers including 1’513 women already benefit from better prices and development projects in Bundibugyo and Kasawo region.
We wanted to create a vertically integrated supply chain from producer to consumer-facing brand and thus have a positive impact within the farmer communities. It allows improvement of cocoa quality and productivity in these areas as well as better life for the people that live in the producing communities.
The dedicated team in charge of the sustainability development has selected farmers representatives to understand better the various needs of the communities. It allows us to communicate directly with the communities of farmers. Then we can share some market information, premium distribution dates, Agenda of training sessions on good agricultural practices and so on…
It all starts with fair prices. We are always looking for a fair share of the premiums to be distributed to the member-farmers in cash.
It is also about immediately improving the quality of life of the members of the groups. We strive to achieve this through common sense community development projects such as child protection and education, access to clean water and electrification, and diversification of income-generating activities.
We plan on performing needs-assessment in due time to address them in accordance with their priorities. It is a long-term project, so we will get to know the communities better.
A good project example we could replicate from our Ivory Coast experience is the creation of an income diversification center with: Chicken farms, Beekeeping, and market gardening as alternative sources of revenue. This center will also be used to provide training, to supply schools with food and to produce organic fertilizers. This should result in increased employment in rural areas.
You can learn more about this Ivorian project in this article.
All this should result in a more sustainable cocoa sourcing. The quality of the cocoa beans produced, as well as the parameters set for sustainable farming in terms of good environmental and social practices are facilitated by premiums on top of market price.
It is now essential for us to ensure this traceability as soon as the bean exits the farm.
ATW will map all plantations, even the most remote ones. Polygonal mapping will give us precious information about the farms such as the location, area, surrounding environment and altitude.
Eventually, we have a great visibility on our impact geographical zone. It will allow us to implement efficient projects to protect the tree cover and bio diversity of Uganda : establishment of tree nurseries, distribution of plants and organic inputs to cocoa farmers, training on good environmental practices and agroforstery.