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Blockchain plan to sweeten deal for cocoa farmers

By Ramla Soni

United Nations and Dutch NGO collaborate on token-based project to aid farmers

The United Nations Development Programme has partnered with Dutch NGO FairChain Foundation to use blockchain to help fund cocoa farmers.

According to SpringWise, the project involves launching a new chocolate bar made from Ecuadorian-grown cocoa, together with a token-based scheme. Inside each wrapper will be a code that consumers can scan, allowing them to contribute directly to cocoa producers.

The scan will also show buyers exactly how much the farmer was paid for the cocoa in their bar and the GPS coordinates of the cacao tree where it was harvested. The token can be used to get money off the next bar purchased.

SpringWise says that chocolate production represents a $92 billion (£71.8 billion) global industry, but that at present farmers receive only 3 per cent of the value of the cocoa used in marketed products.

Guido van Staveren, founder of the FairChain Foundation said the plan was to “use technology to influence consumer behaviour and turn every product into a capitalist impact engine”.

FairChain’s project includes paying farmers €3,080 (£2,675) per metric ton for their cocoa, compared to €2,174 from Fair Trade and around €1,721 from commercial buyers.

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