We pride ourselves on working with over 1000 smallholder cacao farmers in five different countries of origin: Belize, Colombia, Guatemala, Tanzania, and now Uganda.
By working with smallholder, mostly family farms, we can maintain intimate relationships with local communities, allowing us to truly keep an eye on what’s happening on the ground.
There is an insurmountable amount of beauty in the pristine lands from which our cacao comes from; however, with climate change, new challenges have arisen for the farmers, and we want to be there for them.
This is why today we’re so excited to announce that we’ve created a Farmer Climate Resiliency Fund. This fund will help the smallholder cacao farmers we work with be prepared for and have the ability to recover from any climate change impacts.
In this article, we will cover how the fund works, why it’s necessary for the farmers, and what makes it unique.
First, let’s look at some survey data from Uncommon Cacao, one of our cacao brokers.
Their 2022 transparency report revealed the biggest challenges farmers faced and the impacts of climate change that were observed.
In this first graph, we can see that 87% of small farmers across their network stated climate change as their biggest challenge.
This second survey shows the challenges climate change has posed to the farmers. These challenges include lower production, adjusted harvest timing, loss of trees and pods before harvest, increased serious weather events, increased or new pests, and low quality of cacao pods.
Why Farmers Need Help
As you can see, cacao farmers are substantially impacted by the changes in the Earth’s climate. We’ve seen them face the collapse of the only bridge connecting a community to the outside world during heavy rains, and we’ve seen cacao pod rot invading a region because of lack of labor due to COVID-19 for proper organic management. These are just two examples of the types of situations that require monetary support that is outside of the means of individual farmers.
As the global climate crisis continues to accelerate, we know disastrous events will occur more frequently, and it is with certainty that our farmers will be impacted again.
How The Fund Works
Instead of creating one-off fundraisers when disastrous climate events occur impacting our farmers, Ora Cacao’s climate resiliency fund is a long term commitment to help our farmers prepare for and recover from climate change impacts.
This fund is part of our long-term reciprocity with the farming communities we work with. We want them to know they are not alone and their livelihoods will be protected beyond paying a good price for cacao.
Each year, Ora Cacao will contribute a portion of our revenue to the fund. We’ll also be fundraising for it, and we invite you to contribute to the fund as well. You can donate below anytime, or you can donate when you order cacao from us!
Our goal is for this fund to reach $1 million by 2030. All funds will be held in safe assets and managed to grow the fund at a rate of 5% annually. The Ora team will work with our partners on the ground to identify and support resiliency projects as needed each year. Any contributions greater than what we spend will go toward the fund's growth.
What Makes This Fund Unique
Offering this service to our farmers is a form of reparations for the hundreds of years of exploitation and genocide their communities have faced.
The colonial way of exploiting tropical ecosystems and people for the benefit of outsiders is still very much present within the chocolate industry, and we believe that establishing this fund creates a precedent for a new way of doing business within the world of ceremonial cacao. Creating multiple channels of exchange between those of us who drink cacao and those of us who grow cacao strengthens our ties and deepens the reciprocity in our exchange.
We invite you to head over to our Farmer Climate Resiliency Fund page, where you can read more in-depth about this fund.