A platform helps cacao farmers earn more money with embedded traceability that helps ensure a fair price for their product
Spotted: According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), around 1.3 gigatonnes of edible food is wasted each year — around $750 billion worth (approximately €667 billion). In developing countries, much of this is lost during agricultural production. Startup Cooko is working to change this by reframing the entire value chain, starting with cacao production.
Cooko, which means “source” or “wellspring” in the proto-Bantu language of West Africa, has developed a cloud-based commercial platform that adds traceability to artisanal food chains. The company starts at the point of harvest by inserting a digital click “at-source”, which embeds traceability data in each shipment.
Cooko founder Ferdi van Heerden emphasises that the company’s approach provides a “triple win”. Enhancing first-mile traceability helps farmers earn a fair price for their produce while traders have assurance that the cacao they receive is high quality. Cooko also uses its ‘source-fermented’ label to let consumers know that their product has been equitably sourced.
Van Heerden points out that Cooko’s methodology leads to: “better quality cocoa, higher yields for farmers, and less waste in the supply chain. All of this while supporting better-paid jobs for women and improved cash flow for the poorest farmers.” To date, the company has raised more than €1.7 million, including more than €800,000 in a recent pre-seed round.
Improving traceability is an important part of making supply chains more sustainable. Innovations spotted in the Springwise archive, such as using blockchain to ensure transparency and embedding traceability in finished products, are making a big difference.
Written By: Lisa Magloff