ADM reports that during the initial 2005-2006 growing year, six cooperatives with approximately 6,000 farmer members participated in Serap, delivering 4,000 metric tonnes of cocoa. “During the 2009-2010 growing year, the number of participating cooperatives grew to 49, representing more than 18,000 farmers who together delivered more than 14,000 metric tonnes of sustainable Serap cocoa,” continued the industrial chocolate supplier.
"Reflecting the strong appeal of Serap for participating cooperatives, volume is expected to grow in the new crop year," reports a spokesperson for ADM.
And an analysis of cocoa bean quality indicates that Serap participants regularly produce better cocoa beans with lower moisture levels, said the semi-finished cocoa product supplier.
The ADM spokesperson told ConfectioneryNews.com that this low moisture retention is achieved by the fact that the initiative includes and rewards "specific cocoa bean quality attributes; and Serap cooperatives benefit from ADM’s technical training programme covering training on topics such as ‘good drying practices".
Serap is fully compatible with existing certification systems such as the Rainforest Alliance and FairTrade, explained the spokesperson, but that it in itself is a pre-certification platform and is not meant to be marketed towards final consumers.
The cocoa processor explained that the programme, which is audited annually by the Bureau Veritas Group, is also designed to promote social responsibility and ADM, thus, is invovled in educating growers on appropriate labour practices, promoting the safe use of farm chemicals, and raising awareness about disease prevention.
"A strong focus of Serap is training by participating cooperatives on social issues including child labour, as defined by ILO 182," stressed the spokesperson.
When asked if the programme would be extended to Ghana based growers, ADM said that such a move was not imminent.