International Women’s Day 2017: Women In Cocoa Farming


08 Mar 2017 --- On International Women’s Day 2017, Barry Callebaut, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate and Firmenich are celebrating and supporting women in cocoa farming industries across the world.  

Marie Tanoh is the President of cocoa cooperative, Boukabla, located in Niablé, eastern Côte d'Ivoire. The cooperative made up of almost 200 female farmers, supplies UTZ Certified cocoa to Barry Callebaut.

It may not seem so unusual that a women’s only cooperative like Marie’s exists. Especially when you consider that women account for nearly half of the world's farmers, and in some countries, up to 60% of the agricultural labor force (FAO, 2011). However, there is often a large gender disparity in the agricultural sector, with women experiencing decreased access to financial support, training, resources and land rights in comparison to their male counterparts. For example, it is estimated that in terms of land ownership, women in sub-Saharan Africa only hold 18 per cent of land titles (Social Institutions and Gender Index, 2014).

For many women in cocoa growing communities, balancing traditional gender roles and duties, such as household tasks and child care, with cocoa production work can be a difficult challenge.

Moreover, women working on family operated farms are often not paid for undertaking time intensive tasks like fermenting, harvesting or pruning.

Equal involvement of men and women in cocoa farming can result in very positive outcomes for the lives of whole cocoa farming communities. When women earn or generate their own income, they are also likely to reinvest more in their families, children and communities. This ultimately increases the well-being and sustainability of cocoa-growing communities (Oxfam, 2016).

For Tanoh, more awareness of the important role women play and an increase in equality is needed, she explains: “I believe that the role women play is very important for the balance of the family. Women can also make additional income to support the family.”

Women’s empowerment and self-development is seen as vital to increasing women’s contribution to cocoa farming. One way to achieve this is by providing better access to training and education. At Marie’s cooperative, farmers will receive training by Barry Callebaut Société Africaine de Cacao (SACO) in agricultural management and social and environmental practices.

Marie’s cooperative is an example of how closing the gap on gender inequality can ultimately help to improve the lives of all people in the local community.  Barry Callebaut has committed, under Forever Chocolate, to make sustainable chocolate the norm. Increasing farmer prosperity is the ultimate prerequisite - and working with women in cocoa growing communities is integral to achieving this goal.

Women and the Cargill Cocoa Promise 
‘Championing female role models across the Cocoa Value Chain’

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate believe that women’s economic empowerment is critical to a sustainable cocoa sector, forming a cornerstone of the Cargill Cocoa Promise. It is women’s economic wellbeing that builds the capacity of farms, and is directly linked to a more productive crop, increased household income, better educated children, and enhanced health and nutrition. 

That’s why Cargill champion women across the cocoa value chain – helping them to get the recognition they deserve for their contribution by giving role models more visibility and, ultimately, challenging the gender stereotypes that so often hold women back. 

Cargill is taking a leadership role on women’s economic empowerment and are working to offer the skills, the tools and the resources to empower women in cocoa communities. Cargill are doing so systematically, at scale and across the value chain and our evidence-based approach means that we can quantify the difference we are making.

Taco Terheijden, Cocoa Sustainability Director, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate says: “Our impact-focused approach also means that we can quantify the difference we’re making across the cocoa value chain.”

“What better time than International Women’s Day to showcase and celebrate the contribution that women make to cocoa sustainability across the value chain – we hope you find our interactive booklet interesting and inspiring,” he explains. 

The booklet can be seen here

WBCSD Leading Women Award for Firmenich’s Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat  

Firmenich have also announced that Dr. Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat, Vice President Sustainability Partnerships, Firmenich, was recognized by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Leading Women Awards. WBCSD launched this inaugural award to distinguish the ten most outstanding women leaders advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals within WBCSD member companies.  
Firmenich CEO Gilbert Ghostine said: “I deeply believe that business is a force for good and has a key leadership role to play in addressing the UN SDGs. Bérangère’s commitment to establishing long-term partnerships is critical to our success as we cannot solve such great global challenges alone. She deserves this recognition and we are very proud of her.” 
“This recognition highlights Bérangère’s outstanding career and her passion to collaborate with others through partnerships that bring mutual benefits to the companies and parties involved,” said Peter Bakker, President & CEO at WBCSD. “We thank Bérangère for being an inspiration to others through her vision and expertise.”  
Upon learning that she would receive the award, Dr. Magarinos-Ruchat said: “Firmenich has always understood that sustainability is not a trend, but a way to do business with a long-term focus. Our culture has been critical in enabling me to scale up the Group’s impact by partnering with like-minded visionary companies. I would like to thank our Chairman, Patrick Firmenich, our CEO, Gilbert Ghostine and our executive committee, and our Head of Sustainability David Shipman, for their vision and trust.” 
Dr. Magarinos-Ruchat joined the United Nations System Staff College in 1998 where she led the Partners in Action Program working in more than 20 countries. In 2004 she joined the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, where she was the Director of Partnerships. In that position she created the GAIN Business Alliance, a global network of Food and Beverage companies interested in nutrition issues. She joined Firmenich in 2010 where she leads Sustainability Partnerships. Dr. Magarinos-Ruchat has a PhD in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, New York, as well as a postgraduate in Public Private Partnership Management from Cambridge University and a postgraduate in Social Innovation from Stanford. She sits on the Investment Committee of the Livelihood Funds as well as the Steering Committees of both the Toilet Board Coalition and the Juice CSR Platform. In 2016, Bérangère joined the Swisscontact Board of Trustees and in 2015, Dr. MagarinosRuchat was named Head of Sustainability of the Year by Ethical Corporation. 
Reaffirming its commitment to Sustainability, Firmenich set ambitious environmental goals for 2020 with a vision to become carbon neutral. The Group is building traction on this vision, as evidenced by its top ranking on CDP’s Supplier Climate A List for the third consecutive year in 2016. Taking a leadership role in advancing sustainable lifestyles through innovation, Gilbert Ghostine, Firmenich CEO, was elected co-chair of the WBCSD Sustainable Lifestyle Cluster in 2015. 

Kellogg Supports 10,000 Women Farmers to Reach their Full Potential

On International Women’s Day, Kellogg are celebrating the significant contributions women are making around the world, especially in agriculture toward helping secure the global food supply.

On average, women represent 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and up to 30 percent of all farmers in the United States.

At Kellogg, women farmers play an important role at the start of the food journey. They are responsible for growing and nurturing the grains and other ingredients we use to make many of the cereals and snacks consumers enjoy today. From seed planting to harvest, these farmers take great pride and care in their work, although in some regions often lack access to the resources they need to achieve their full potential.

Kellogg also recognize that in many countries, women often lack the opportunities needed to enable them to reach their highest potential. As part of their Global Sustainability Commitments, Kellogg is identifying women farmers and workers in our value chain and developing programs to help improve their livelihoods, their families and communities. This pledge also supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG 5) of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, which Kellogg celebrate on International Women’s Day. 

Today, Kellogg has announced their support for 10,000 women farmers around the globe.   This achievement is reflected in the work of  responsible sourcing team and in part, Kellogg’s Origins™ Program, which is designed to provide education, training and other resources that focus on climate-smart agriculture. Over the past few years, Kellogg have seen the program positively impact women farmers such as Cecilia, Rita, Jayna and Marisol, who grow grains to make our Special K cereals and snacks.

In Europe, Kellogg partnered with Marisol, a rice farmer in Spain’s Delta Del Ebro region, to leverage natural agronomic practices to help recover and protect the soil where she growsthe rice for Special K cereal. Through this program, participants have seen annual yields increase by approximately eight percent, which also drove an increase in income and efficiency. 

In Latin America, Kellogg provided on-site soil health and financial training, as well as recommended best practices in sustainable agriculture to women farmers such as Cecilia in Bolivia, who grow the quinoa used to make delicious Special K Nourish foods. Through that program, Kellogg have impacted more than 600 families in the region.

In North America, Rita, a Michigan farmer who grows the wheat for a variety of Special K cereals and snacks, is participating in the Kellogg’s OriginsTM Great Lakes Wheat Project where we are helping her identify opportunities to implement new conservation practices. In 2015, Kellogg nominated Rita as a White House Champion of Change, which she won for her work educating the community about how food is grown and the importance of farming conservation practices.

In Asia, Kellogg helped introduce a new rice variety for Special K cereals in Thailand. This work impacted 700 farmers, 60 percent of whom are women. Through the program, smallholder farmers such as Jayna now have access to a long-term market for selling a high-yielding, pest resistant rice variety.

And in Africa, Kellogg are building their understanding of opportunities to drive continuous improvement with women farmers and workers on strawberry farms in Morocco who are growing some of the fruit that goes into Special K Red Berries cereal.  

Kellogg believe these efforts will contribute to a more sustainable food supply in the future and at the same time, help empower more women so that they can live life at full strength. Looking ahead, Kellogg will continue to participate in events and on-the-ground programs where they can make a positive impact. 

Kellogg are proud to have helped feed the potential of 10,000 women farmers, and recognize that in partnership with others we all still have a lot of work ahead. But at the heart of all of these efforts is our purpose to nourish families so they can flourish and thrive, by helping to fight hunger and feed potential – from the farmers who grow ingredients, to the families who enjoy Kellogg foods around the world. 

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