The expansion is one of the major projects of The Chocolate Dream, called Masters of Cocoa, and now encompasses a sixth region the chocolate manufacturer has moved its sustainability work in order to help cocoa-growing communities.
Though this region has historically struggled with violence, illicit crops, and illegal mining, Luker and its project partner, Aprocasur, hope to help local farmers implement strategies to ensure a prosperous and legitimate future through cocoa. The company said the initiative also aligns with Luker’s 2027 targets to boost the income of 1,500 producers by 20%, enhance the welfare of 5,000 families, and protect 5,000 hectares of land.
Masters of Cocoa is set to reach 380 producers in the South Bolívar region, empowering them to implement sustainable farming practices that will improve their productivity and income, while protecting their environment. Participants in the programme will put sustainable farming methods, such as agroforestry systems, into practice, implement a system to document their progress, and earn points for every challenge completed.
At the end of the project, the points may be exchanged for rewards such as tools, livestock, and groceries. Last year, 457 participating producers received rewards and recognition for their efforts to grow and cultivate cocoa more sustainably.
Julia Inés Ocampo, Sustainability Director at Luker Chocolate said The Chocolate Dream has had an overwhelming positive impact on cocoa-growing regions nationwide. “At Luker, we aim to go beyond sustainability. Since our founding in 1906, our mission has always been to meaningfully contribute to the sustainable development of communities in Colombia. The Chocolate Dream is how we’ve brought this mission to life.”
Luker Chocolate recently released its 2022 progress report on the impact of The Chocolate Dream projects on the environment, communities and farmer income. In line with its 2027 goals, the company said it increased the income of 829 farmers by 20% and traced 100% of cocoa in its value chains to associations and regional buyers.
In addition, Luker successfully implemented 26 projects through The Chocolate Dream, benefiting children and youth through educational programmes and skill development, in turn improving the quality of life of 3,084 families.