Puratos, global leader in bakery, patisserie and chocolate products, inaugurated a cocoa collection and fermentation plant in the province of San Pedro in Ivory Coast. Created in partnership with French chocolate maker Cémoi, this confirms Puratos’ strong commitment to long term sustainability of Ivorian cocoa.

The official opening ceremony of the Cocoa Collection and Fermentation Plant (CCFP) took place on the site near Adjamené. The ceremony was attended by around 400 farmers from the cooperative, Puratos and Cémoi teams as well as local dignitaries.

“Through this partnership of two family-owned companies, CEMOI and PURATOS team up to reinforce the cocoa network in Ivory Coast. This commitment is in line with CEMOI’s sustainability vision to promote a traceable, aromatic cocoa with respect for the people who grow it and the environment where they live,” said Patrick Poirrier, President of the CEMOI Group.

The first Puratos Cocoa Collection and Fermentation Plant opened in Vietnam in November 2013. According to ICCO (the International Cocoa Organization), Ivory Coast will produce 3.41 million pounds of cocoa in 2014/2015. Since this country is the world’s largest grower of cocoa beans, it makes sense to have it as a home for Puratos’ second plant. In doing so, Puratos will help accelerate the development of the sustainable cocoa supply chain, as well as encourage direct contacts with farmer communities to ensure full traceability.

Eddy Van Belle, Chairman of the Board of Puratos Group, said, “Puratos believes sustainability is a win-win relationship for every actor in the cocoa supply chain, from the farmers to the consumers. Through better productivity, quality and returns to farmers, community development is improved, farmers areempowered and continue to grow cocoa, and chocolate can be enjoyed for many years to come. As a medium-sized user of cocoa beans and cocoa products from all over the world, Puratos Group is keen on securing future supplies of high-quality cocoa beans processed as part of a sustainable system.”

The CCFP serves both as a community center and a post-harvest center. Farmers from the cooperative bring their wet beans in for fermentation, drying, or to bag them for export. By handling the post-harvest process, Puratos gains full control over the quality of the cocoa products and can guarantee a consistent taste profile of its chocolate solutions. In return, the farmers get a better income and receive support and training from Puratos.

“Through our work with Cémoi, we believe Ivory Coast can produce great quality cocoa”, Mr. Van Belle continued. “That is why we provide training focused on quality management, as a good chocolate cannot be made without the best cocoa beans”.

The CCFP also plays a social role in local communities. Thanks to the installation of a drilling system, it provides the center with access to electricity and drinkable water. This initiative will not only improve the livelihoods of neighboring families but will also ensure good working conditions for the workers of the center.

This initiative is part of Puratos’ Cacao-Trace initiative, a unique sustainable certification dedicated to partnering directly with farmers and working closely with them. Already active in Vietnam and Ivory Coast, the goal of Cacao-Trace is to secure a long-term cocoa production and sustainable development throughout the full supply chain. It not only covers the three pillars of sustainable development – social, environmental and economic – but also quality and traceability requirements. Cacao-Trace aims to upscale the livelihoods of the farmers by improving their income with quality premiums and providing them with agricultural training. This allows the farmers to increase yield and to develop an entrepreneurial spirit for future generations. Investing in cocoa collection and fermentation plants is one of the ways Puratos is able to implement its Cacao-Trace in producing countries.