21 November 2013 – CABI is leading a new project aimed at improving the quality of cocoa in South-East Asia and raising awareness of food safety issues in the cocoa supply chain. The CocoaSafe project kicks off on 27 November 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and aims to build food and plant health safety (sanitary and phytosanitary) capacity – essential for improving smallholdersÂ’ access to global markets.

Cocoa is an important source of income for thousands of smallholder farmers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Potential pesticide residues and introduction of other harmful substances can occur in the field and during processing, so this project will help those working across the cocoa supply chain to ensure cocoa is produced safely, and meets international food and plant health standards.

Sponsored by the Standards and Trade Development Facility the project will be conducted in collaboration with the International Cocoa Organization. Other project partners include the Malaysian Cocoa Board, the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute, the Papua New Guinea Cocoa and Coconut Institute and US confectionary manufacturer, Mars.

The project will train master facilitators, who will then promote and embed best practice throughout the cocoa value chain – from production, processing and export. Ensuring cocoa meets international regulations and legislation is essential as without this, smallholder cocoa producers cannot gain access to global markets. Project staff will also facilitate knowledge sharing amongst participating stakeholders and raise their awareness of food safety issues more generally.

Ultimately, the project intends to:

• improve cocoa quality through the application of good agricultural practice along the supply chain

• facilitate knowledge sharing between participating stakeholder groups; and

• raise awareness of food safety concerns (and how to address them) through the entire supply chain and to stakeholders beyond the project’s immediate reach.

NovemberÂ’s project inception workshop will bring together cocoa stakeholders and key authorities, including development partners, policymakers, researchers, key National Plant Protection Organization/quarantine agencies, extension providers and government representatives. International authorities, such as the FAO and the UNDP, will also be represented.

Talking about the project’s impact, Dr Julie Flood, CABI’s Global Director for Commodities, said, “Promoting and embedding food safety best practice throughout the cocoa supply chain is the best way to ensure smallholder producers have access to lucrative markets. It’s a win-win situation, addressing consumer food safety concerns whilst giving cocoa producers better opportunities to improve their livelihoods.” 

Please see our website for further details and updates about the project: