Côte d’Ivoire cooperatives to start deforestation monitoring with simple web-based software

Anne Jorun Aas

Chief Executive Officer

Reducing deforestation and speeding up environmental restoration are crucial if we intend to limit climate change and protect global biodiversity. Using data and technological solutions can help us to achieve these goals, especially when it comes to creating traceability and transparency in the first mile of supply chains, when products first move from the producer.

Though our partnership with Fairtrade International we are giving 25 cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire the ability to own their first mile data and professionally manage the information they share with their customers. We are now in the process of going live with Farmforce’s first mile traceability solution, with 400 people trained on how to use the software for increasing manageability for the cooperatives and their members. The Farmforce solution is suited to working both online and offline in low connectivity environments. Cooperatives can now manage a wide variety of data including traceability, deforestation, standards compliance, producer training and much more.

The evolving regulatory landscape in the European Union on human rights, environmental and deforestation due diligence means that cooperatives in origin countries will need to manage more complex data and risks to continue selling their cocoa on the EU market – which farmers are reliant on for their livelihoods.

As part of our commitment to making a difference, we have developed a simple web-based deforestation monitoring feature that we have activated for all cooperatives that are currently running Farmforce in Côte d’Ivoire. Fairtrade International helped put the technology in the hands of these cooperatives to make this possible. Now cooperative managers will, for the first time, be able to open a laptop and use Farmforce to show them where deforestation is happening in their producer’s plots. This will further help educate and enable the first mile with technology solutions to address the upcoming stricter regulations.  Fairtrade and Farmforce recognize that digitizing the first mile is a critical step to improving transparency and living conditions of the producers.

We are currently collaborating with several members of the World Cocoa Foundation to roll out a production version of our new deforestation monitoring solution. This will allow simple, automated bulk analysis of hundreds of thousands of Global Positioning System polygons to check for deforestation from the web browser and assist buyers in segregating cocoa from those plots. What is most exciting is that stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire can quickly deploy this technology solution at scale, resulting in deforestation monitoring that can be used by stakeholders that currently operate with different sourcing models and technical standards. We see a path that could lead to the  adoption of deforestation monitoring at scale for all stakeholders in the cocoa value chain.

The first step is frequently the hardest. We have therefore chosen to focus as far upstream as possible, at the cooperative level, to create an understanding of how to use the data and technology to impact the lives of the farmer and the state of forests across Côte d’Ivoire.

Everyone can do their part to curb deforestation. However, deforestation is a global problem that will not be overcome by isolated individual actions. It will require a large-scale effort by all of us to collectively change the status quo and reduce further forest loss. The past has seen plenty of talk about deforestation, but now we need to act on it together. The power to act with technology for first mile data is something we can all benefit from and take action to impact climate change by reducing the risk of deforestation in the cocoa supply chain. Let the journey begin.