USAID and Barry Callebaut Partner on Sustainable Sourcing in Southern Philippines
BANGKOK, April 8, 2020 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Green Invest Asia project, has launched a study on cacao-coconut intercropping that will help increase farmers’ income and lower carbon emissions in the southern Philippines.
Together with global chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), USAID will advance investment in production models that can increase the company’s sustainable sourcing.
Barry Callebaut has committed that by 2025, its products will use 100-percent sustainable “carbon and forest-positive” ingredients, which means products retain more carbon than released. The company spans 20 brands and generated close to $7.4 billion in product sales between 2018 and 2019.
USAID will map and model the agronomic potential of cocoa-coconut intercropping (a practice where two crops are grown in the same space at the same time) in varied climate scenarios in the Philippines, which is among the most natural-hazard prone countries worldwide. These findings will inform the company’s investment decisions for its global cacao and coconut oil supply chains.
The study will evaluate farmers’ agricultural practices, preferences, and technical capacity in Davao Oriental to adopt new technologies and intercropping methods and associated carbon benefits. The analysis uses farm-level data to project the most profitable, low-carbon plantation models to help inform Barry Callebaut’s sustainable sourcing and investment strategy.
Despite growing global demand for coconut products, coconut farmers in the Philippines – one of the world’s top coconut producing countries – struggle to sustain their families. Limited land tenure rights, declining yields, and volatile coconut prices have worsened farming households’ food insecurity and poverty. Planting two or more crops can increase farmers’ income, improve soil quality, and have a more positive carbon benefit.
“Intercropping can bring much needed relief to suppliers through boosting farmers’ income and crop yields, while lowering carbon emissions,” said Christy Owen, Chief of Party of USAID Green Invest Asia. “The more climate-resilient a company’s supply chain is, the more likely it can handle future uncertainties,” she added.
In addition to supporting supply chain sustainability linked to land use, USAID Green Invest Asia provides capital matchmaking and business and technical advisory services to small and medium-sized agriculture and forestry companies to scale low-emission production practices in Southeast Asia. The project also supports financial institutions analyze and integrate companies’ environmental, social and governance performance in their investment decisions.