Transmar Ecuador has been a forerunner within Transmar Group in its pursuit of sustainability initiatives at the grass roots level with a strong up-country presence and close working ties with farmers promoting both social, environmental and commercial progress on farmer level.
In 2006, we formalized our efforts and created the Project DREAM program promoting. The program has been our customized program fulfilling the sustainability or quality requirements of our customers while also preserving the quality of the Arriba Nacional bean, which has been in decline due to poor harvests and dilution with the CCN-51 bean. Building on the experience and selected components of the Project DREAM we are excited to introduce the ProducerPlus program.
The ProducerPlus program was created in order to support farmers through a professionalization process. By helping small-holder farmers become professional business people, ProducerPlus contributes to the improvement of productivity on cocoa farms, thereby increasing farmers’ incomes, reinforcing rural communities, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of cocoa farming.
ProducerPlus utilizes a comprehensive curriculum to guide producers through the professionalization process. The Curriculum focuses on agricultural training, association development, and business skills, as well as a full range of socio-economic topics pertaining to the four pillars of the program: community, health, education, and the environment. ProducerPlus is based on a variety of implementation tools:
Within the initial phase of the ProducerPlus program, the individual farmer will be registered. The registration will include a diagnostic of their farm, detailed mapping of the land and GPS point registration. This will help ensure traceability as well as target the training and development of rehabilitation programs for each farmer.
Demonstration Plots serve as the classrooms of the program where producers receive trainings on the very highest farming practices on a plot of land located directly within the farming community. These plots are used to show producers the ideal conditions that they should replicate on their farms and for internal benchmarking purposes to measure the performance of ProducerPlus members.
From the moment that the producers register into the ProducerPlus program, full traceability of the cocoa sourced within the program is ensured. Along with every shipment, customers will receive both a Commercial traceability report showing exactly which producers and producer groups contributed to that particular shipment lot and a Sustainability report detailing the farmers who have benefited from the ProducerPlus program.
To improve our farmers’ incomes and assure optimal traceability, we work directly with the farmers to negotiate the purchase of beans. This elimination of layers of middlemen assures that the farmer receives the highest market value based on accurate weight. We have also worked with farmers to establish bank account credit lines that provide them with financial assistance in building their businesses.
Ensuring Cocoa Quality
Through ProducerPlus, we offer our customers the option of buying cocoa in pods to prevent mixing as well as control post-harvest fermentation and drying. This allows us to customize the flavor profile to exactly match a recipe.
The internationally recognized independent certification standards will continue to be important tools to verify the best agricultural and business practices. ProducerPlus has been designed to help producers become “certification ready” and upon customer request the international certifications can be included in the ProducerPlus program.
The Project DREAM foundation
The Project DREAM foundation has been established to ensure transparency and proper use of funds. The foundation will be the recipient of all premium and/or donor funds and disburse these directly to ProducerPlus implementers.
Transmar has been purchasing directly from farmers and cooperatives in Peru since 2011 in the San Martin, Ucayali, and Huanuco regions of Peru. Sourcing directly from farmers and cooperatives allows Transmar to guarantee full traceability of the cocoa sourced. Moreover, Transmar has supported Peru’s national association of cocoa producers, APPCACAO, in its efforts to help Peru’s cooperatives attend promotional events, namely the Salón de Chocolate in order to facilitate these cooperatives’ access to the market. Transmar has also supported certification efforts in the regions from which it purchases cocoa, thereby promoting the sustainability of cocoa in the long term.
Finally, Transmar has conducted Sustainability Assessments with its suppliers in Peru in order to work side by side with suppliers to achieve the goals of improving cocoa farmers’ livelihoods, promoting environmental stewardship, and achieving transparency within the supply chain.
Transmar sources UTZ, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic certified cocoa in Peru in order to meet customers’ needs. Through these certifications, farmers and their producer organizations ensure the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of cocoa farming.