Cocoa product manufacturer Barry Callebaut has been working towards improving lifestyles of more than 500,000 farmers through its sustainable Forever Chocolate strategy.

The company intends to increase farm productivity by growing more trees and increase the yield of quality cocoa, which will enable farmers to sell their product at a premium price and lead a better quality of life.

As part of the new initiative, Barry Callebaut will be providing around 500,000 seedlings from its cocoa nurseries to farmers in Indonesia this year, with an intention to produce the best trees.

Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific Cocoa vice-president Richard Fahey said: “Indonesia has been struggling to increase cocoa production because of ageing cocoa trees. Most of them were planted in the 1980s, are vulnerable to diseases and are well past their peak production years. Cocoa trees are strong, and will produce pods for a long time.

“However, the high-productive years of a cocoa tree are finite, and usually after 25 years, the trees are less productive. Indonesia desperately needs new trees in order to get back to a productivity level of around 1Mt of beans per hectare.”

The company explained that they are engaged in various activities in order to achieve sustainable cocoa production and enhance future supplies of cocoa, as well as improve farmer livelihoods.

Fahey noted that the country is struggling to cope with the cocoa demand and production due to ageing cocoa trees.

"Indonesia desperately needs new trees in order to get back to a productivity level of around 1Mt of beans per hectare.”

Most of the cocoa trees are reported to have been planted during 1980’s, and have now become vulnerable to diseases and passed their peak production years.

Barry Callebaut Indonesia sustainability manager Ani Setiyoningrum said: “The purpose of cocoa nurseries is to provide a conducive environment in which young cocoa plants can grow a good number of leaves and fully develop its root system to a certain stage that will give cocoa plants a better chance of survival at the cocoa farm.

“These nurseries will require shade, water and protection from wind, and whenever necessary, protection from stray animals.”