Cargill, Wichita, Kan., established its own licensed buying company in Ghana called Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd.

Cargill Kokoo Sourcing has been fully operational since November 2016, and allows Cargill to directly source cocoa from certified farmers in Ghana for the first time. So far, over 25,000 farmers are registered, 9,000 of which are actively pursuing selling beans through Cargill’s licensed buying company network. Cargill already sources directly from farmers and farmer organizations in other origin countries. Moving to this model in Ghana means that the company will be better positioned to efficiently implement the Cargill Cocoa Promise, Cargill’s commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities.

Cargill’s innovative high-tech purchasing model is built on the principles of sustainability and full traceability. Farmers deliver their cocoa to community warehouses where their beans are digitally weighed in front of them, assigned a fully traceable barcode and funds are then transferred straight to the farmer’s phone or e-wallet using e-money through partnerships with E-Zwich, MTM mobile Money and Tigo Mobil Money. The revolutionary move to mobile money adds assurance for the farmer, improves their ability to trade more effectively and eradicates all risks associated with cash payments.

Details of the beans are then recorded in a standardized management system before the beans are collected by larger trucks, which transfer them to central warehouses. Through Cargill’s new barcode system, the company can now trace each individual bag of Ghanaian cocoa beans sourced through the Cargill Kokoo Sourcing to the individual farm, creating a fully traceable supply chain down to farmer level.

"Never before has it been more critical for cocoa farmers in Ghana to be the master of their own destiny and improve their own livelihoods,” says Lionel Soulard, managing director West-Africa Cargill cocoa and chocolate. “With the introduction of an innovative digital payment system, or mobile money for short, this first-of-its kind initiative at scale in Ghana is creating a great opportunity for smallholder finance at the farm level. We strongly believe that this way of doing business is the future for cocoa farmers in Ghana. Mobile money is the first step towards improving incomes for farmers, as we build the infrastructure and capabilities for a more efficient and effective supply chain. Our aim is to create an enabling environment for smallholder finance for the future, resulting in better entrepreneurial spirit already noticeable at the farmer level."