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Soaring demand for sustainable cocoa prompts World Bank to invest $55m in cocoa trader

By Oliver Nieburg , 09-May-2012

Soaring demand for sustainable cocoa prompts World Bank to invest $55m in cocoa trader

A division of the World Bank has acquired a stake in cocoa trader Armajaro Trading to support sustainable farming practices and improve traceability within its supply chains.

The International Finance Cooperation (IFC), a World Bank member, said the deal would allow Armajaro to be closer to farmers and co-operatives and allow it to provide additional services including long term supply agreements and price risk management.

Armajaro aims to become leader in sustainability

Armajaro Trading CEO Richard Ryan said: “Working with IFC will help Armajaro Trading become the partner of choice in the agri-commodity supply chain.”

“IFC’s support will enable us to grow our business while ensuring that we continue to lead the sector in traceability and sustainability.”

Vipul Prakash, IFC director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services, Asia-Pacific, said, “IFC’s investment represents a unique opportunity to partner with a global business leader that is active in improving the livelihood of its emerging-market farming communities and developing traceable and sustainable supply chains.”

Source Trust and other initiatives

Armajaro operates in 20 countries dealing in cocoa and coffee, including key cocoa growing regions such as Ghana, Nigeria and Brazil and manages its cocoa operations from its headquarters in London.

It is the sole supplier of Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa in the Ivory Coast.

The company also has its own not-for-profit organisation Source Trust set-up to support sustainable farming practices in developing countries

This organisation has partnerships with major confectioners including Lindt, Ferrero and Meiji.

In 2010, media speculation claimed that Armajaro had purchased around 20% of European cocoa stocks which was said to have driven up prices to 33-year highs.

Drive for sustainable cocoa

The World Bank’s investment comes as demand for ethically sourced cocoa is growing.

Major confectioners such as Mars and Ferrero have both set targets to make chocolate and other products from 100% sustainable cocoa sources by 2020.

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