By CANADIAN VENDING
According to a study launched by the Cacao Oro Group, global demand for cacao is expected to grow at an annual rate of approximately 5 per cent for the foreseeable future. In the past, increasing demand has been met by increasing the total acreage under cacao cultivation.
With more chocolate companies looking to avoid issues like deforestation, and market themselves as an environmentally aware corporations, Mars Incorporated has committed to meeting its future needs through a 100 per cent sustainable supply chain.
The company launched Cocoa for Generations to step-change efforts, lead the way and invite others to partner with them in a new approach to increase farmer income, protect children and preserve forests today, and crack the code on a model of modern sustainable cocoa farming for tomorrow.
Achieving a 100 per cent sustainable supply-chain will not be an easy task – especially since the cacao crop will increasingly compete with other crops such as oil palm and rubber for available farmland.
Improved agronomic practices will help achieve this goal, but the company stated there are other steps required to become more sustainable. The key will be to significantly increase the genetic potential of cacao to produce higher yields and improved quality on the same or even less farmland.
With this goal in mind, Mars has engaged Nature Source Improved Plants (NSIP) in a collaborative project to accelerate the development of new cacao varieties with higher yields, increased disease resistance and improved quality.