The expansion, dubbed Masters of Cocoa, is one of The Chocolate Dream’s flagship projects and now encompasses the sixth geographic area where the chocolate maker is pursuing sustainability initiatives to support cocoa-growing communities.
While the region has historically suffered from violence, illegal crops and illegal mining, Rooker and its project partner Aprokasur want to help local farmers implement strategies to ensure a prosperous and just future through cocoa. The company said the effort is also in line with Rooker’s 2027 goals to increase the income of 1,500 producers by 20%, improve the welfare of 5,000 households and protect 5,000 hectares of land.
The Masters of Cocoa will engage 380 producers in the South Bolivar region to enable them to implement sustainable agricultural practices that increase productivity and income while protecting the environment. Program participants practice sustainable farming practices such as agroforestry systems, implement a system to document their progress, and earn points for completing challenges.
At the end of the project, points can be redeemed for rewards such as tools, livestock, and food items. Last year, 457 participating producers received cash prizes and recognition for their efforts to grow cocoa more sustainably.
Julia Inez Ocampo, Sustainability Director at Rooker Chocolates, said Chocolate Dream has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on cocoa-growing regions across the country. “At Luker, we aim to go beyond sustainability. Since our founding in 1906, our mission has always been to contribute meaningfully to the sustainable development of Colombian communities.Chocolate Dream is how we fulfill this mission“
Luker Chocolate recently released its 2022 progress report on the impact of The Chocolate Dream project on the environment, communities and farmers’ incomes. The company said it has increased the income of 829 farmers by 20% and has tracked 100% of cocoa within its value chain to associations and regional buyers, in line with its 2027 goal.
In addition, Rooker has successfully implemented 26 projects through Chocolate Dream, benefiting children and young people through educational programs and skills development, resulting in improved quality of life for 3,084 households.