Need a reason to indulge in chocolate? Keep reading…

Need a reason to indulge in Cadbury Dairy Milk’s sweet and delicious chocolate? If you need a chocolate fix, but you’re feeling a little bit guilty, let me tell you about the Cocoa Life Programme – an initiative I recently learnt about at an event in our city – and how every block of chocolate is made with good cocoa.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a ECMeetUp Cocoa Life event at No.5 by Mantis in Port Elizabeth. Besides the fact that it was a lovely morning spent with some of the ladies from the local blogging community, with good food, good conversation and good photo opportunities for the ‘gram, it was an incredible morning where we got to learn more about the Cocoa Life Programme. We also had the opportunity to chat to Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Country Lead of Mondelēz International Cocoa Life Programme in Ghana, who shared the heart behind this amazing initiative.

Photo credit: Odette Johaar Photography
Photo credit: Odette Johaar Photography

What is the Cocoa Life Programme?

You probably knew that your favourite chocolate is made with cocoa beans, but have you ever wondered where these cocoa beans come from?

Over 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is grown by West African farmers. But over the last few decades, there has been a decrease in cocoa beans harvested by these farmers due to the effects of climate change, disease, and the lack of access to new farming methods and technologies. Many of these cocoa farms are owned and operated by families, and many of the younger family members have left the family farms and moved to city. This has left older family members with the challenge of managing their farms on their own.

Without cocoa, we would never have delicious chocolate. And so, Cadbury decided to take on the challenge of supporting and growing the cocoa farming communities of West Africa with the help of Cocoa Life.

The Cocoa Life programme, which was established in 2012, aims to improve the lives of cocoa farmers through sustainable farming and investing in the community development of the cocoa industry.

Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, who has worked as the country lead of Cocoa Life since its establishment 10 years ago, when it was then known as the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, believes that the aim of Cocoa Life “is to ensure the cocoa that goes into Cadbury products is ‘made right’.” She further stated that “making it right means tackling the complex challenges that cocoa farmers face by working hand-in-hand with the men and women who make their living from cocoa, focusing on where we can make a difference to transform the cocoa sector by inspiring lasting change, rooted in deep understanding, sector-wide collaboration and partnerships.”

Yaa and the Cocoa Life team in Ghana have reached out to nearly 40,000 cocoa farmers in 450 communities across 17 districts in five regions of Ghana’s cocoa belt. The team’s interventions are based on seven focus areas – child protection, community, environment, farming, livelihoods, women empowerment and youth development. And thanks to Cocoa Life’s training programme, almost 150 000 farmers can grow cocoa more effectively.

Cocoa Life is inspiring the next generation of cocoa farmers, which means that farmers will be able to provide for their families for years to come, and we can continue to eat Cadbury chocolates made with good cocoa sourced from sustainable cocoa farms.

Country Lead of Mondelēz International Cocoa Life Programme, Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, and her husband. Photo credit: Odette Johaar Photography

Spotting the Cocoa Life sticker on your chocolate bar

You may have already noticed the little green stamp on Cadbury Dairy Milk’s products, but did you know that this symbol represents the Cocoa Life initiative? The Cocoa Life Stamp, which will be on every Cadbury Dairy Milk slab from July 2019, means that the chocolate you are eating is made with cocoa beans harvested by farmers who work with the Cocoa Life team. At the moment, only 45% of Cadbury chocolate in South Africa is made from Cocoa Life cocoa, but by 2025, you can expect to see a Cocoa Life stamp on every Cadbury chocolate.

Know your chocolate

I’m so grateful that I was invited to this event simply because I may have never given the little green sticker on my chocolate bar a second thought. I also really enjoyed chatting to Yaa, who is so passionate about Cocoa Life. Learning more about the cocoa industry made me excited for the work the programme has planned for the future. I’ll be following Cocoa Life’s journey as they continue to support cocoa communities in West Africa and give their customers good quality chocolate made with good cocoa.

If you’d like to learn more about the programme and the work Yaa and her team do, visit www.cocoalife.org.

A big thank you to Yaa for this beautiful Kente, a traditional coloured garment from Ghana. Everyone at the event received their very own Kente, handpicked by Yaa.

Photo credit: Odette Johaar Photography

This is a sponsored blog post.

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