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For the first time I’m savouring “fine, organic and fair”chocolate from Ghana.

Thanks to a special friend: Sepp Schoenbachler.

Felchlin has processed cacao from Ghana, West Africa for many years. Until recently, it was impossible to acquire the cacao beans directly from the producers. The project Yayra Glover has enabled us to eliminate this problem and allow us to guarantee the origin of our cacao beans from Ghana, therby specifying traceability to the origin.

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Ghana Cocoa-of-origin

The history of cocoa in Ghana
The fist missionaries from the Basle Mission were sent to the then Gold Coast, today’s
Ghana, in the year 1828. According to the story, these missionaries, who were working together
with Tetteh Quarshie, brought cocoa into the country. Around 1870, the Ghanaian
Tetteh Quarshie worked for a few years on an island in the Gulf of Guinea. The island, on
which cocoa was already grown, was a Spanish colony. Despite the strict prohibition, Tetteh
Quarshie succeeded in smuggling a few cocoa beans into his homeland on his return to
Ghana and successfully raised cocoa plants from them. The Spanish-Portuguese cocoa monopoly
was thereby broken, and the valuable beans found their way to Africa.

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The importance of cocoa in Ghana today
Ghana is the second largest export country for cocoa in the world. For the last 60 years, all
the cocoa grown in Ghana had to be sold to the “Ghana Cocoa Board”. This government organisation
controlled and marketed all the cocoa, either for export or for domestic use (local
processors). The raw material cocoa is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Ghana
and is therefore of enormous importance.

The Yayra Glover Company and its vision
According to the vision of the Ghanaian Yayra Glover, cocoa production in Ghana should be
realigned in the future. His company wants to cultivate and market the cocoa from the entire
Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district in line with both, organic and Fairtrade guidelines. And all of
this with the active support of Swiss agronomists.

In doing this, Yayra Glover trains and informs the farmers about local, regional, national and
even international topics. Important issues such as child labour, organic food, natural plant
protection and sustainable agriculture are thereby central. However, in addition, the people
should also be given the means and the opportunities to themselves bring about changes in
their own lives.

He also sees his task as being the general improvement of the well-being of the farmers and
their families by means of smaller social research activities. Students from universities have
the opportunity to work for agricultural communities, to collect data and to create practical
recommendations that can be implemented at the local level in order to raise the prosperity
of the population.

Through tireless work, Yayra Glover succeeded in convincing the “Ghana Cocoa Board”
about his project. He is thereby the first person who is able to sell his cocoa directly to his
customers, of course with the support and approval of the Cocoa Board.

Cocoa from the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district, Ghana
The Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district, from which Felchlin now obtains its Ghanaian cocoa,
lies on the southern edge of a large forest area, 60 km north-west of the capital city Accra.
Coastal savannah extends towards the south, while the Aburi chain of hills forms a natural
border to the east, with the protected Attewa forest to the north-west. The entire district is
relatively hilly, with flat valleys intersected by rivers and streams.

CacaoGhanaYayra Glover, a Ghanaian with strong ties to Switzerland, is the founder of the project “Suhum Cacao”. He studied and worked in Switzerland for many years and his family still lives here. His vision is to cultivate cacao in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district under the organic and Fairtrade certification labels. In this way, he hopes to support his countrymen by producing a premium quality cacao that would secure their future financial existence.

The cacao cultivation incorporates an area of approximately 6’500 ha, which involves around 2’600 small cacao farmers. After long negotiations, Yayra Glover convinced the Ghana Cacao Board of his project. His efforts have born fruit and he is the first, except for the Ghana government, who is authorised by the Cacao Board to sell cacao from the Suhum district to Felchlin Switzerland.

Main harvest
October – January

The cacao beans from Ghana are primarly blended with other cacao beans and used in Felchlin Switzerland Surfine and Classic couvertures.

Cru Suhum 40% flavour profile: the balanced cacao flavour leads to a harmonius play of fresh milk with a nuance of caramel. The finish begins with a pleasant malt note to be completed with a mild marzipan flavour.

Cru Suhum 60% flavour profile: the aroma experience of Cru Suhum couverture is distinguished by a harmonius cacao flavour enrobing the strong coffee note. The slow, traditional processing method allows the fruity, sweet pineapple flavour to develop. The finish is complimented through a nuance of dried pear encased in a sustained black tea flavour.

 

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Internationale en prijswinnende chocolademakers op het Origin Chocolate Event in het Tropeninstituut.

Chocoladeliefhebbers en fijnproevers kunnen hun smaakpapillen weer strelen tijdens dit unieke evenement rondom origine chocolade. Op 23 oktober 2013 zal voor het tweede jaar het Origin Chocolate Event plaatsvinden in het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen in Amsterdam.

Chocolade: van snoepgoed tot volwassen product

De opkomst van de kleinschalige chocolademakers heeft het product chocolade op een hoger niveau gebracht. Deze chocolademakers verwerken bijzondere variëteiten cacaobonen tot chocolades en weten de meer dan 700 aroma’s in dit complexe product optimaal tot uiting te brengen. Zij behoren tot de prijswinnaars van de gerenommeerde ‘Academy of Chocolate’ en de ‘International Chocolate Awards’.

Werd chocolade voorheen als snoep gezien, hier ervaart u chocolades die zich kunnen meten met de beste soorten koffie en wijnen. Op dit evenement presenteert de crème de la crème van de chocoladewereld haar chocolades en de boeiende verhalen erachter. Onder andere Ecuador, Vietnam en Madagaskar zijn vertegenwoordigd maar ook Kees Raat uit Amsterdam. U proeft zoete en hartige chocolate tapas, de mooiste foodpairings met wijnen, speciaalbieren en thee. Er worden Masterclasses gegeven en Het NH Tropen Hotel biedt tegen een prijs van 39,50 een 3-gangen chocolade diner aan in een van haar prachtige zalen.

Kortom, een evenement waarvan u verrijkt en verkwikt door de theobromine huiswaarts keert.

Waarom het Origin Chocolate Event?

Erik Sauër, importeur van origine chocolades en medeorganisator van het Origin Chocolate Event: ”Origine chocolades zijn gemaakt van cacaobonen uit één specifieke regio, soms zelfs van één specifieke soort. Dit zijn échte streekproducten, met een eigen smaakpallet, die zich onderscheiden van de reguliere chocolades.

Deze chocolades zijn relatief nieuw op de markt en wij willen fijnproevers en chocoladeliefhebbers hiermee bekend maken.

Wat valt er te beleven?

Presentaties en proeverijen van ’s werelds bekendste chocolademakers: Santiago Peralta (Pacari), Bertil Akesson (Akessons), Vincent Mourou & Samuel Maruta (Marou), Philipp Kauffmann (Original Beans), Sepp Schönbächler (Felchlin), Niklaus Blumer en Pascal Wirth (Idilio), Diego Badaro (Amma) en Mikkel Friis Holm (Friis Holm).

Bijzondere ontmoetingen met de meest vooraanstaande chocolade experts ter wereld: Martin Christy (Seventy% Club en International Chocolate Awards), Maricel Presilla (Gran Cacao, chefkok, schrijfster), Clay Gordon (oprichter van http://www.thechocolatelife.com), Anna Laven (cacao expert Royal Tropical Institute).

Verleidende proeverijen van bijzondere cacaosoorten en verfijnde chocolade door o.a. Chocoweb (www.chocoweb.nl) en chocoladewinkel Chocolátl

Exclusieve culinaire hoogstandjes van toppatissiers en chocolatiers: Kees Raat (Metropolitan Deli), Geert Vercruysse (Patisserie Vercruysse) en Alexandre Bellion (Chocolaterie Alexandre).

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Wijn-, bier-, whisky- en spijscombinaties met origine chocolade.

Een exclusief ‘origine chocolade’ diner met een bijpassend wijnarrangement.

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Meer informatie over tijden, sprekers en tickets op http://www.originchocolate.eu

Meer over Origin Chocolate

Origine chocolades zijn chocolades van cacao uit een specifieke regio. Kwaliteit, duurzame concepten, biologisch en direct trade zijn kenmerken van de chocolade in deze groeiende markt. Door de beste kwaliteit cacaobonen te gebruiken en zeer veel aandacht en zorg te besteden aan het productieproces, worden de meest aromatische chocolades gecreëerd. Tijdens het evenement wordt de passie van het fijnproeven gecombineerd met het op de kaart zetten van de speciale origine chocolade.

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Koninklijk instituut voor de Tropen

Het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT) is een onafhankelijk kennisinstituut op het terrein van duurzame ontwikkeling, gezondheid, cultuur en kennisoverdracht. Het KIT helpt bedrijven, culturele instellingen, ontwikkelingsorganisaties, overheden en vele andere organisaties in binnen- en buitenland hun doelen te bereiken met hoogwaardige en bruikbare kennis. Er is er veel expertise aanwezig over duurzame cacao en de internationale cacaosector. De samenwerking met het Origin Chocolate Event is een voorbeeld van de overdracht van de ‘know how’ in de cacao industrie naar verschillende doelgroepen.

NH Hotels

NH heeft de ambitie om één van de meest maatschappelijk verantwoorde bedrijven te zijn in de gastvrijheidsindustrie. Het aanbieden van producten en gerechten met een duurzaam karakter, dat is waar NH Hotels voor gaat. Daarom steunt NH Tropen, als gastheer in het KIT, het Origin Chocolate Event.

http://www.originchocolate.eu/

 

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Chocolate Forever 10 Other themes and some reflections

Certifications, training, and efforts geared at organising farmers are key approaches for mitigating the risks for supplier. But they are not the only issues, and they do not provide the ultimate supplier solution. For example, without having access to the adequate inputs (plant material, fertilizer, and pesticides) farmers will not be able to apply what they have learned. Adequate inputs have to be available and accessible at affordable prices. Only the combination of training and access to inputs will lead to inproved yields and in turn increased farmer income. Clearly this also entails costs. At the moment the industry is shoulderong a large part of these costs, but in the long run farmers will by themselves have to secure bank loans for purchasing inputs. Financing is another key theme taht is important for safeguarding the supply of produce.
These are different financing options that can be explored, of which some are already in place, for example, the company Wienco makes it possible to purchase inputs ‘inputs on credit’ in Ghana. It is worthwile to look at already existing successful initiatives and exploring other suitable (financial) institutions that can provide loans. This effort would face a number of barriers. Because cocoa producing countries (especially in West Africa) are considered as high-risk and low yield areas, financial institutions are generally not interested in investing in agriculture and providing loans to farmers. Generally speaking agriculture is risky business; farmers depend on a lot of factors for having a succesful harvest: the timing of preparing plots of land, sowing, applying inputs and harvesting are crucial, as are climate and weather. But the problem is not only related to the creditworthiness of farmers, it also has to do with the existing lack of trust that farmers have in local banks. A recent book of Royal Tropical Institute on Value Chain Finance gives a number of practical examples on how farmers that are embedded in a value chain can get access to finance.

cacaoperuano

Even if the cocoa farmer’s access to financing could be improved, there are no guarantees that the farmers will actually invest this additional income in their own farms and communities. Will they spent their money on fertilizer, irrigation systems, or will they pay of their other debts, buy a television set or spend money on entertainment? Can investments in their local community be stimulated? How can this be done? What partnerships are needed? What are the drawbacks of such initiatives?

Another issue that requires some reflection is the issue of inclusion vs. exclusion. Although the aim is to certify, train, and as many farmers as possible, it is inevitable that in the end some farmers will receive training as well as financed planting materials and fertlizers, whereas other will not. It is essential to examine the principle that will guide this decision making: Which should be preferred, the least developed areas or places where a number on conditions are met (e.g., adequate transport and training infrastructure)? Ideally, vibrant local entrepreneurs would be involved, but can they be located? What are the future expectations that such decisions evoke?

The issue of inclusion and exclusion is also relevant for looking at extent to which ‘sustainability’ is a shared agenda. Max Havelaar and TCC respond to this concern by involving farmers in multistakeholders agreements, which help them organise and also strengthen their joint voice.

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Final observations: Supplier failure is one of the main drivers for industry to invest in sustainable sourcing of cocoa. Due to increase risks that cocoa farmers in the future might not be able to produce the required quantity and quality of cocoa, it becomes increasingly important to make on-farm investments. To assure that increased quantities of cocoa are available on the market, cocoa farming has to be lucrative for farmers. The main themes in this context are certification schemes, training farmers, and organising farmers. The questions posed by Dutch actors in the cocoa chain vary from vary from how the costs of training schemes can be lowered to how successful initiatives can be scaled up.

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next time: Remarkable sustainability initiatives.

 

 

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Chocolate Forever 9 Farmer training

00636_hd[1]With plant material it is crucial to determine per situation what the best plant variety is and to make sure that it is locally available. The problem is that there is a huge gap between science and practice: scientists are focused on publishing fundamental research and farmers use whatever is available locally. The crux is to apply scientific knowledge locally.

Finca La Amistad Costa Rica

Finca La Amistad Costa Rica

Cocoa production can be increased threefold by using sustainable agricultural techniques, new plant material, and fertilizer. The availability of knowledge on these techniques and the appropriate inputs is generally not perceived as a problem (but requires ongoing investments). A lot is already known and investments are being made in technical research on combating pests and diseases, new plant material, and other topics. This research is mainly conducted outside the Netherlands, by privat R&D departements, specialized cocoa research centres, and universities. Often they work together in the developments of this – more technical- scientific knowledge. The key challenge is how to bridge the gap between this type of knowledge and the materials and knowledge that farmers use on the ground. There is a serious need to make science applicable in local circumstances, and thus to make it more useful for farmers.

Training is essential for reaching out to farmers.  The central rationale, shared by the different actors involved in mainstreaming sustainable cocoa, is that farmer training increases farmer productivity levels and quality of the produce, ultimately increasing farmer income. It is expected that this additional income will be invested in the well-being of their family members, their cocoa farms, and their communities. This should be lead to the desirable future outcome of cocoa farming becoming an honourable profession, which strongly appeals to the young. Clearly training is an important element, but providing training to millions of farmers and workers is not an easy task. Several key challenges in training smallholders are presented in the next lines: First of all, many farmers lack primary school education so a training program should be practical and connect farmers’ experience and capacities. Second, the infrastructure to train farmers is either lacking or underdeveloped in many cocoa producing countries. Third, local extension services are in many places underdeveloped, which is linked to the limited investment in the cocoa sector and infrastructures from the side of the goverment in many cocoa producing countries.

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In responce to these difficulties, the cocoa industry and their governmental and civil society partners have decided to organise – in both consumer and producer countries – the farmer training by themselves. The participatory training model that these partners use is the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach. In these schools farmers include pruning, control of pests and diseases, harvesting, fermenting, drying and storing cocoa beans. The Sustainable Tree Crop Program (STCP) – and international public-privat partnership between industry, producers, reasearchers, goverment agencies, public sector institutions and conservations groups – has been a major player in setting-up these schools in West-Africa. The intergovernmental organisation CABI, which opened an office in the Netherlands, has played an important role in developing the curriculum of these Farmer Field School for the STCP.

Farmer Field Schools are intensive and expensive courses that quickly educate untrained farmers to improve and expand their production as soon as possible. This is an emergency measure and not viable in the long term. Therefore, more sustainable ways of training farmers have to be set up, together with goverments and research institutes. This could be done by linking up with existing structures such as extension services, but alternative ways also have to be explored.

Its all about changing the farmrs’ behaviour. Therefore you need training, just as you need inputs, financing, and market opportunities. Effective training, to get people to understand what they should do, has to be done at lowest possible costs in order to be able to reach the mainstream. There are different models with which they are experimenthing; Farmer Field School is one of them. FFS is an expensive but effective manner to train some farmers, but the knowledge that some acquire does not sufficiently trickle down to other. How do you get adults to learn, that’s the challenge.

Alternative and additional forms of training are necessary, not only because it is necessary to develop cheaper alternatives but also because of the necessit to increase knowledge dissemination among farmers. Although farmers that receive the FFS training have to commit themselves to train three colleagues, in practice this knowledge dissemination is limited. There are a variety of potential explanations: the farmers have limited capacities as trainers; they do not share knowledge on purpose to retain an advantage over their neighbours; their neighbours could be physically located at a prohibitive distance; and other barriers.

To overcome this problem partners in the certification scheme are investing in an additional training model called Training of Trainers (ToT). Farmers that show enthusiasm and progress in acquiring new skills are offered the opportunity to become trainers themselves. They have to follow and additional course and if they pass they receive a certificate that allows them to train other farmers.

In order for farmers  to receive training they need to be organised. Moreover, farmer organisations are the primary entities that receive certifications. Farmer organisations are able to distribute goods (plant material, fertilizer) and services (training, credit) among their members and act as farmers representatives. Thus organisations have the potential to provide not only economic benefits but also empower farmers. Organisation farmers offers advantages also to industry, by providing support for the certification and auditing process, and by providing a distribution mechanism for inputs, training and finance.
There are many different types of farmer organisations. There are small groups of farmers that organise on an informal basis to collectively transport cocoa beans. On the other hand, there are huge national associations, which even have the power to influence national policies. One of the most recognised form of farmer organisation is the cooperative. In many developing counie coopeive wee ceed by govements and consequence wee politicised. Because of past negative experiences, many farmers are suspicious of the cooperative movement and choose not to organise in a formal way.
This lack of trust and the additional incentives that are required make it very difficult to organise a group of farmers in practise. This effort is further complicated by the fact that organisations that are founded by external actors tend to set overly ambitions goals or scale up to rapidly. Sometimes the new organisation even conflicts with the existing structures already in place. Also, farmers do not necessarily see the benefits of becoming organised or have no trust. To successfully organise farmers requires providing them with clear incentives. There are also organisations that secure a cooperative status for financial reasons; they primarily use their front as a legal entity and thus do not represent farmer interests.
It is apparent that organising an increasing numbers of farmers is a serious challenge. The strategy of actors involved in UTZ Certified was to start with improving and expanding existing cooperatives. In the Ivory Coast, where UTZ started a piloting the certification scheme, it is expected that around 20% of the farmers can be easily included in existing organisations. These farmers live close to big towns and enjoy the benefits of good infrastructure. Improving the quality of existing farmer organisations – in order to shape them into a trustworthy business partner- is challenging because they have low management and
negotiation capacity and have little capital to invest in improving their capacities. To set up new cooperatives or other types of farmer organisation is extremely difficult and it is a serious challenge to reach and organise the overall majority of farmers.

next time: Other themes and some reflections.

 

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Chocolate Forever 2

This book explores the knowledge needed for achieving a sustainable cocoa chain and the gatekeepers of thise knowledge. It tells the story mainly from a Dutch perspective, focusing on the knowledge needs of actors involved in cocoa in the Netherlands, and their knowledge partners.

…Fifteen years from now (…) cocoa beans will be transported in the most sustainable way: in mega-bulk ships sailing towards Amsterdam! The port of Amsterdam has introduced a reduced sea harbor tariff for certified beans, to further promote their production and use. Storage and trans-shipment of beans is being done in the most fficient way, as bulk cranes with energy efficient motors and innovative flywheels offload beans. The vermin in the warehouses is eradicated without using environmentally harmful substances. The space in the harbour is also being used as efficiently as possible; as many tonnes as possible have to be used per square meter for trans-shipment and storage. Transport from the warehouses to the processors mainly takes place on barges because of their low CO2 emission and contribution to reducing traffic jams (…)

This story illustrate the vision of James Hallworth, Commercial Manager Bulk Logistics at the Port of Amsterdam, who describing how the cocoa transport storage and trans-shipment in the Netherlands might look fifteen years from now. The Port of Amsterdam is the world’s largest cocoa harbour and the Region of Amsterdam (Zaanstreek) is home to the most complete cocoa network in the world.

This commitment raises a set of questions, regarding the kind of knowledge needed for achieving a sustainable cocoa chain and the gatekeepers of this knowledge. A sustainable cocoa chain involves a process of continuous improvement. How can one ensure that the right knowledge is being developed at the right moment and, in particular, that the available knowledge will be effectively used by the people who need it the most? One must take into consideration the different perspectives on sustainability of the cocoa chain, as well as the different interests covered by the ‘knowledge agenda’, i.e. whose interests are included and whose are left out?

The general aim of this publication on sustainable cocoa in the Netherlands is to examine the question of knowledge and the availability of expertise in the country, and to further compare Dutch cocoa knowledge with the knowledge in the broader international spere. This comparison will serve to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Dutch cocoa knowledge infrastructure and to provide recommendations for improving its international position.

The publication: This book is part of a wider effort that seeks to achieve sustainable cocoa consuption in the Netherlands within fifteen years (Cocoa that will fall under sustainable cocoa includes for ex. certified organic cocoa, Fair Trade cocoa, Rainforest alliance, and cocoa certified by UTZ CERTIFIED) and to contibute to the global sustainable cocoa economy (people, planet profit). It examens the status of the Dutch knowledge sector and how it can strengthen its knowledge base.The publication aims to present all themes and questions in a way that will do justice to the complexity of the topic, without engaging in in-depth scientific analysis of the subject matter.

Structure of the publication: Chapter 2- Knowledge on sustainable value chains. Chapter 3- The position of the Dutch cocoa sector in the international cocoa chain. Chapter 4- The issues at stake. Chapter 5- Knowledge demand versus supply. Chapter 6- What do the Dutch know? Chapter 7- Recommendations for a sustainable knowledge base.

 

 

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Chocolate Forever 1 (Dutch knowledge on sustainable cocoa)

Deze titel staat op een uitermate interessant boek gekregen van Anna Laven tijdens het “Origin Chocolate Event” in het Koninklijk Internationaal Tropisch Instituut te Amsterdam van vorig jaar. Waarvoor mijn uiterste dank aan Anna Laven en Pim Pelders de schrijvers van het boek, financially support by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation
The title of an extremely interesting book received from Anna Laven during “Origin chocolate Event in Amsterdam last year at the Royal Tropical Institute.
Ik beloofde er te gaan uit bloggen op “Why do we love Chocolate”, en nu ik het uit heb, wil ik dit met plezier delen.
I promised to blog it on “Why do we love chocolate”, I would like to share this with pleasure.

c9a367_2012_12_28_cacao1This book explores the knowledge needed for achieving a sustainable cocoa chain and the gatekeepers of thise knowledge. It tells the story mainly from a Dutch perspective, focusing on the knowledge needs of actors involved in cocoa in the Netherlands, and their knowledge partners.

The Port of Amsterdam is the world’s largest harbour and Region of Amsterdam (Zaanstreek) is home to the most complete cocoa network in the world. The large economic importance of cocoa for the Dutch economy, and the role of the Dutch in the international cocoa chain, demands a strong knowledge infrastructure, one able to support the dynamic character of the Dutch cocoa cluster.

In responce to the extremely difficult economic circumstances faced by many cocoa farmers, and driven by the risks of future supply shortages worldwide, the cocoa sector is currently on the move. A multitude of public and private players, together with members of civil society, have joined forces to work on promoting sustainability in the cocoa sector.

Knowledge is essential for achieving this aim-not only sharing the knowledge required to make the processe sustainable, but also identifying the knowledge requirements of various stakeholders. In the Netherlands there is limited knowledge infrastructure taht supports knowledge development specified on cocoa. However, there is a strong potential for generating and sharing knowledge connected to sustainable cocoa, in particular due to existence of vibrant Dutch multistakeholder community involved in cocoa.

This effort to map the knowledge demand and available expertise in the Netherlands is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. It contributes to implementation of the ChocoWorkGroup’s Sustainable Cocoa Actionplan that seeks to achieve sustainable cocoa consumption in the Netherlands within fifteen years and contribute to the global sustainable economy.

 

 

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Consequenties voor tropische regenwouden en bosgebieden.

Photo: Deforestation area in Panama City's Rio Chagres basin

De Reduced Emmissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD een internationaal samenwerkingsverband) is gebaseerd op het idee dat de rijke landen moeten betalen aan de armere landen om te stoppen met het kappen van bossen. Het zal voor regeringen essentieel zijn om klimaatverandering serieus te nemen en meer te gaan betalen voor het behouden van bossen. Het is niet onmogelijk om iets te veranderen en het moet ook gebeuren, anders zijn de gevolgen niet meer te overzien.

Ontbossing

Een deel van de landbouwgrond die gebruikt wordt voor veeteelt bestaat uit geconverteerde bosgebieden. Het probleem van ontbossing doet zich niet alleen voor in gebieden met tropisch regenwoud, maar is een wereldwijde kwestie. Gevolgen van ontbossing zijn het verlies van culturele diversiteit, verlies van biodiversiteit en een onrechtstreekse bijdrage aan het broeikasteffect doordat minder koolstofdioxide kan worden opgeslagen. Ontbossing kent verschillende (ook natuurlijke) oorzaken, maar de twee belangrijkste zijn de houtproductie en de veeteelt. Wat de laatste betreft, wordt bos zowel geruimd voor weiland, als voor het telen van vee- voedergewassen. In een ontbost gebied zullen bodemnutriënten vlug verdwijnen, en gaat kruid vaak gras vervangen, wat voor de landbouwer ongewenst is. Kunstmeststoffen bieden maar een tijdelijke oplossing, en natuurlijke regeneratie is zeer moeilijk. De helft van alle weidegrond in het Amazonegebied is in uitgeputte staat achtergelaten.

Tropische regenwouden.

De tropische regenwouden vormen een belangrijk probleemgebied. Sinds 1950 is 200 miljoen hectare tropisch regenwoud verdwenen, wat overeenkomt met één vijfde van de wouden van de wereld, of meer dan de helft van alle tropisch regenwoud. Terwijl ontbossing van het Afrikaanse en Zuid-Aziatische regenwoud voornamelijk moet worden toegeschreven aan wassenteelt en houtproductie, is in Zuid-Amerika veeteelt de voornaamste oorzaak. Van het tropische regenwoud bevindt één derde zich in Brazilië. Daar verdwijnt het regenwoud vandaag à rato van 5000 voetbalvelden per dag, en wordt 70% van de ontbossing toegeschreven aan veeteelt. In Midden-Amerika is het aantal koeien sinds 1950 uitgebreid van 4,2 naar 9,6 miljoen, en is de totale hoeveelheid weiland tussen 1955 en 1985 toegenomen van 3,9 naar 13,4 miljoen hectare. Midden- en Zuid-Amerika kunnen ver van ons bed lijken, maar ook Europese dieren worden gedeeltelijk met Zuid-Amerikaanse veevoeders (soja) gevoed. Hetzelfde geldt voor tapioca uit Thailand, die in sommige gevallen op ontbost gebied geteeld werd en in Europa wordt ingevoerd om te dienen als veevoeder voor koeien, varkens en kippen.

Overstromen

Regenwouden zijn ook heel belangrijk voor de lucht die wij inademen. Planten zetten kooldioxide om in zuurstof. En zuurstof hebben wij nodig om te leven. Daarom worden regenwouden ook wel de groene longen van de aarde genoemd. De laatste vijftig jaar is er enorm veel woud gekapt. Elk jaar verdwijnt er een stuk regenwoud dat drie keer zo groot is als Nederland en België samen. Voor de aanleg van rundveehouderijen, maar ook voor de houtindustrie. Als een regenwoud wordt gekapt, dan wordt het water niet meer vastgehouden. De bodem droogt uit. Bij zware regenval spoelt de dunne bodemlaag weg en blijft alleen kale rots over. Na een paar jaar verandert het gekapte regenwoud in woestijn. Doordat de bomen het water niet meer vasthouden, komen de heftige tropische regens in één keer in de rivieren terecht. Die overstromen dan. In de regenwouden verdrinken daardoor jaarlijks duizenden mensen.

http://www.spreekbeurten.info/regenwoud.html

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/

 

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