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Coffee & vanilla for regenerative agriculture in Kasese (UG)

Touton is proud to co-invest with IDH and IKEA foundation for the Coffee Farmer Income Resilience Program in Uganda. Leveraging on our multicrop know-how and extensive trading capacities, Touton will engage 5000 smallholder coffee farmers - who also grow cocoa, vanilla, and birds ‘eye chilies - to foster diversification for income resilience and transition their farm systems towards regenerative agriculture.

The difficult coffee growing context make it complicated for smallholders in the Kasese district of the Rwenzori region to secure decent income from coffee farming. With small coffee farms - on average less than one hectare per family - and ageing tree stocks, opportunities for economies of scale are scarce. Left without land or work, young adults leave rural areas to seek employment in cities.  More frequent and 

intense floods or droughts caused by climate change, add to the negative impact of poor infrastructure and low access to finance that prevent boosting yields and improving revenues.

As a solution, 1/3 of growers’ families in the region, turn to other sources of income, such as livestock or intercropped agricultural goods, including banana, cocoa, avocado and vanilla. However, our research shows that most producers embarking on vanilla production are also reporting flower abortion and low yields. In turn, producers who have bet on other crops such as cocoa or chili, do not have access to good post-harvest practices, which is also affecting the quality and safety of the goods and access to consistent market to sell their produce.

To remediate to these issues, the Coffee Farmer Income Resilience Program adopts a holistic approach, with a focus on providing equal access to both agricultural trainings and services for coffee and other crops. We aim to deliver technical training on crop production and regenerative agriculture to 5000 smallholder Arabica coffee farmers, including 1/3 of women, 2000 of which will also grow vanilla and 1000 other crops such as bird’s eye chili pepper and cocoa.

To complement and really uplift the adoption of these newly acquired technical skills, Kasese producers will also benefit from an innovative independent network of service providers, called Agripreneurs. Harnessing the entrepreneurial culture of young Ugandans, and providing self-employment opportunities, we seek to attract local men and women to offer professional, affordable, and qualitative services to farmers such as access to inputs, planting material for coffee plants rejuvenation and intercropped production, or agronomy services including soil testing. Thanks to partnerships with creative startup offerings, Agripreneurs will also offer financial and crop insurance services (by OKO) for improved resilience against economic or climatic risks.

Another game changer for coffee producers in Rwenzori will focus on improving the supply chain structure. Our program will support the setup of organized producers’ groups, translating into easier logistics, better quality control and ultimately into sustainability certifications, to become synonymous with market price premiums and improved living income.

A single supply chain structure also allows Touton, a historical trader of coffee, vanilla, cocoa, and bird’s eye chili pepper, to buy non-coffee crops from Kasese growers and facilitate the transition towards intercropped production models. Regenerative agricultural farming principles are necessary to maintain and improve the soil conditions on the slopes of the Rwenzori and to maintain rich and diverse biodiversity. We expect at least 3000 farmers to engage in growing and selling multiple crops beyond coffee farming. These activities will in turn promote further business opportunities for Agripreneurs to offer new services specific to those crops.

To build the best enabling environment for crop diversification, the program will set up infrastructures at the beginning and at the end of the crop cycle. Upstream, we will establish a central nursery to supply (at a fee) seeds, seedlings, and vines to several other nurseries, led by farmers and Agripreneurs. Downstream, to ensure the produce meets international customers’ quality and food safety specifications, a central drying station will be assembled as a model for community-based drying stations for coffee, cocoa, and chillies, empowering farmer groups and creating greater engagement.

Building blocks for certified sustainable ginger in Nigeria

Ginger Nigeria IDH project 4Recognised for its high quality, demand for Nigerian ginger  keeps on rising. Despite being among the top 3 largest producers in the world, Nigeria still needs to leverage the full potential of ginger production as an income generating crop.

At Touton, based on our extensive experience in the trade of tropical commodities, we see even greater potential to develop a resilient supply system, that generates value for Nigerian farmers by promoting productivity and sustainable practices in ginger farming. In 2020, we partnered with IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, to build a traceable and sustainable ginger supply chain, starting with a group of 500 farmers in the Kaduna state.

Despite the complex environment created by the COVID-19, Touton, supported by technical consultants, implemented most of the initial activities, including training and distribution of protective equipment. Training on topics such a Good Agricultural Practices and Good Environmental Practices encourages farmers to increase yields and quality whilst conserving natural resources and minimizing environmental pollution as the basis for sustainable farming. We also covered topics around Good Social Practices which raises awareness of workers’ rights, as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) core convention.

Many learnings were made, which we intend to build upon in 2021, to keep the momentum and achieve Rainforest Alliance certification soon. Such certificate would help increase farmers‘ revenues and secure a sustainable ginger supply from Africa. 

     Ginger Nigeria IDH project 12      Ginger Nigeria IDH project 8      Ginger Nigeria IDH project 13                                                

New research to boost Ugandan coffee farmers’ resilience

Data collection is on!

Since March 2021, data collection from Ugandan coffee producers is on-going in the Rwenzori. Our team of young enumerators from the coffee communities are now interviewing farmers with both quantitative and qualitative surveys about their current farming practices and revenues. Producers are positive and enthusiastic about the initiative and keen to benefit from the results to boost income diversification strategies. This new research partnership is still in the early early stages, with only 20% of the surveys conducted, but we are already seeing promising insights emerge.

Led by Touton Uganda and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), with the support of the Sustainable Food Lab and USAID, the research partnership strives to find concrete diversification strategies to improve coffee farmers economic and climate resilience in Uganda. Since November 2020, the project team has been working to collect data that will help distinguish the most actionable on-farm income diversification strategies, based on the unique profiles and farming processes of Arabica coffee producers in Kasese district, Western Uganda.

Specific objectives of the research include detecting obstacles and opportunities for crop diversification that will accommodate different profiles of Arabica smallholder producers, and to pinpoint concrete strategies for boosting the adoption of good agronomic and agroforestry practices by producers. Initial findings from the surveys suggest that:

About 60% of coffee household farmland is used for coffee farming in the Rwenzori region of Uganda, with most farmers owning a single coffee garden, with an average of 320 coffee bushes. Coffee farms are relatively small with limited opportunity for expansion in this enclaved landscape between the neighboring Queen Elizabeth National Park in the lowlands, and the Rwenzori national park that separates Uganda from DRC. Small farms translate into small production and a fragmented supply chain.

Almost unanimous observations that the meteorological conditions are evolving, with longer dry periods, heavier and shorter rains. Coffee trees in the area are generally over 25 years old, with only a minority of producers engaging into rehabilitation activities such as stumping and replanting. We can anticipate that the combination of these factors has a negative impact on coffee production, which, according to respondents, has decreased over the past year. These early findings support the urgency to sensitize producers about engaging in regenerative agriculture practices in their gardens.

Demand from coffee farmers for technical extension is high, specifically to address decreasing yields. This combination of low productivity on small farms, with few investments, leads to a poverty cycle. In turn, farmers are increasingly interested in crop diversification solutions to increase their income.

Farmers already have some level of existing crop diversification - either intercropped with coffee or within dedicated gardens. However, these strategies appear to remain “ad-hoc”, which provides an opportunity to support farmers agronomically to improve the potential of all crops.

Respondents have shown enthusiasm towards this research and for the support Touton and IITA aim to provide in the Rwenzori region.

Such results and positive attitudes are highly encouraging for the forthcoming rounds of surveys and interviews due to take place in the coming weeks. With 357 Rwenzori farmers interviewed by the end of the process, official results should allow research partners to develop key recommendations for the targeted adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture practices, agroforestry, and crop diversification. Such recommendations will hopefully unfold into concrete testing that will boost coffee farmers’ living income, making them more resilient, economically and towards climate change.


Touton proud to be part of new SAT4Farming project!

 Digital and Satellite Technology Program Launches to Support Ghana’s Smallholder Cocoa Farmers 

July 10th, ACCRA, GHANA – SAT4Farming, an initiative to reach thousands of small-scale cocoa producers with information and services to improve their productivity and sustainability, was announced today. It is designed to use digital technology and satellite imagery to create individual Farm Development Plans (FDPs) that guide farmers over a seven-year period. 

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Sustainable Vanilla Initiative

Touton was one of the first companies to join the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative that was set up in 2016 by IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative).

The SVI brings together multinational companies and NGOs that are involved at different levels in the vanilla supply chain in a public-private partnership, The aim is to encourage sustainable practices that in turn, will contribute to ensuring future supply as well as stimulating economic growth in vanilla producing countries.

Learn more about the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative:

Madagascar: du riz pour une chaîne de valeur vanille durable

NATURAVANILLA Rice donation 2021 3Les conditions climatiques et économiques complexes auxquelles font face les producteurs de Vanille de la region SAVA à Madagascar depuis plusieurs mois, rendent très difficiles l’accès à la nourriture et aux produits de première nécessité. Touton s’associe avec son partenaire et fournisseur local, NaturaVanilla, pour soutenir les 300 producteurs de la coopérative Madasoa et avancer dans la consolidation d’un partenariat solidaire, équitable et durable.

Au début du mois de juin 2021, 18 tonnes de riz ont été livrées aux producteurs de 4 villages de la SAVA. Financés par Touton, les sacs ont été achetés et distribués par Naturavanilla pour aider les membres de la coopérative Madasoa - MADA pour Madagascar et SOA pour bon en malgache - à passer le cap difficile de la « période de soudure ». Un moment délicat où les producteurs doivent se réapprovisionner en riz d’importation sur le marché local, dans un contexte d’inflation et de spéculation intense. Le riz est l’élément clé de l’alimentation malgache et le sac de riz blanc de 60kg attribué à chacun des 300 planteurs de la coopérative devrait permettre d’alimenter leurs familles pendant environ un mois.

Corina Nirina, Directrice de Naturavanilla explique :
« Nous mettons tout en œuvre pour agir en solidarité avec nos planteurs et leurs familles. Nous apprécions le geste de Touton dans ce sens. Il démontre une vraie compréhension de nos défis et renforce le lien fort qui existe déjà entre nous. Nous sommes d’autant plus motivés pour continuer de fournir une vanille de qualité, respectueuse de notre environnement, dont nous pouvons être fiers et vivre dignement. »

NATURAVANILLA Rice donation 2021 2Cette action de collaboration solidaire entre Touton, Naturavanilla et les producteurs de Madasoa, doit également venir financer et consolider les efforts des «comités de gestion»  de chaque village. Ces organes permettent de renforcer la cohésion entre producteurs villageois, d’améliorer la coordination des récoltes et surtout d’assurer la sécurité autour des  parcelles pour limiter les vols de gousse de vanille verte, dont les pertes peuvent parfois atteindre jusqu’à 80% de la parcelle !

Depuis 2018, c’est entre 10 et 30 tonnes de Vanille certifiée Fair For Life et Bio que les planteurs de Madasoa produisent chaque année. Le lien direct que Touton entretient avec la  coopérative est précieux : il permet une meilleure rémunération des planteurs grâce aux primes de durabilité et à la réduction du nombre d’intermédiaires. Il assure une parfaite  traçabilité des gousses de vanille. Il pose également les bases saines d’un véritable partenariat qui permet aux producteurs de bénéficier notamment de prêts à taux 0 pour financer  leurs récoltes, de dons de matériels agricoles ou au bénéfice des familles. Les communautés villageoises sont en effet décisionnaires quant à l’utilisation des fonds de développement  durable en fonction de leurs priorités. Ainsi, malgré la crise sanitaire, depuis 2020, plusieurs chantiers ont démarré, notamment la construction d’une école, d’un puit et d’une route  pavée.

Erwan Petibon, Directeur Touton Madagascar, ajoute :
« En tant qu’importateurs de vanille depuis des décennies, nous mesurons à quel point le contexte est difficile. Cette instabilité chronique justifie d’autant plus la solidarité, mais surtout l’accélération dans la construction d’une chaîne de valeur durable et équitable où chacun trouve sa place. Un défi que nous continuons de relever au quotidien avec nos partenaires planteurs, et que nous invitons nos clients à appréhender ensemble. »

Pour plus d’informations, contactez le département Ingrédients :

NaturaVanilla group photo

Reaping the benefits of agroforestry today & for the future

Loss of tropical rainforests is a major issue in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s supply of cocoa. Touton has just published its second Ghana progress report for the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, a public private partnership that coordinates efforts towards building a more sustainable and climate resilient cocoa supply chain.

Day in day out, we build sustainability programs in a way that cocoa farming and sourcing not only protect and restore forests, but also promote sustainable cocoa production and farmers’ livelihoods. One of the major objectives is to “grow more cocoa on less land” which means applying effective landscape management approaches. Sustainability programs are tailored to local needs and include engaging with cocoa farmers and communities to improve planting materials, to provide training in good agricultural and agroforestry practices, boosting the land tenure reform, or supporting income diversification.  

GH MDLZ Bonsuo Christopher 3

The best way to picture what these efforts mean on the ground is to look at what farming partners have to say about it, such as Christopher Bonsu Amoako, from Sewfi Yawmatwa, in the West North of Ghana, a very engaged actor for change in his community:

  “My name is Christopher I come from Sewfi  Yawmatwa, where I live with my wife and 8   children. At 43 years old, I am an    experienced   farmer, owning 45 acres of land where I grow   cocoa since 1999. 

I heard about cocoa rehabilitation and landscape management for the first time in 2016, when CFI partners came   to sensitize our cocoa community. Their presentation really clarified the impact of climate change on our cocoa production and how the forest plays a key role in protecting us and our plantations.

My engagement for protecting our environment and forest is serious. I am responsible for our Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), to protect our natural resources and ecosystems and I was also elected chairman of the Mansan Hot spot Intervention Area (HIA) against deforestation. I have benefitted from the climate smart cocoa approach in so many ways.

Firstly, I have significantly developed my network in the Ghanaian forest and cocoa supply chain, meeting and working with several organizations. Secondly, I have progressed in knowledge and skills to improve my own cocoa farming, including: Good Agronomic Practices, General Planning, Financial Literacy and Savings.

GH MDLZ Bonsuo Christopher 2I am convinced that good landscape management and agroforestry practices are important to protect our forest and improve our wellbeing. The shade trees I planted just a year ago are doing very well. I foresee that in 5 to 6 years’ time, we will see great performance in the plantation, and more forest to curb the negative effects of changing raining patterns. I can compare the positive effects of shade trees and humid ecosystems on my yield every day. My cocoa plot located near the forest is healthy and rendering well. On the contrary, the plot that is far away from the forest is performing poorly, so I decided to plant shade trees on it. 

I also learned how diversification of activities can really boost my income all year round. I plant new types of crops and  engage into new activities such as bee keeping, fish farming, or vegetables farming. This means that I have other ways to support my family now, I am not dependent on cocoa income anymore. I was very proud to be rewarded last year as the second-best farmer in my district! I will continue to grow and move on.

It is not always easy though; the main implementation challenge I face is to motivate the whole community to work together. When I pushed for setting up shade tree nurseries, the chiefs offered land but the logistics to coordinate the work of a big group, and the lack of material to work efficiently, made it more difficult.

Children are the future, so I organize lessons for them about good agroforestry practices at the nursery site. I teach them how to loosen the soil, nursery farming technics and recording seedlings’ performance for them to log into the computer. I am conscious about not letting them do any tedious work beyond their strength. My children are fully on board with this practice as they are conscious that improving the cocoa production means access to school for them. “

Supporting Honduran organic coffee partners for speedy recovery after hurricanes hit hard

Standing in solidarity with coffee planting communities in Honduras, Touton responded positively to the donation appeal launched by COAGRICSAL, Honduran coffee, cocoa, and pepper cooperative. Our financial donation is supporting our partner’s efforts on the ground to quickly relieve thousands of farmers from the devastating combined effect of Hurricanes Iota, Eta and COVID 19.

COAGRICSAL Hurricane donation 1  COAGRICSAL Hurricane donation 5  COAGRICSAL Hurricane donation 6

The two category 5 hurricanes hit Honduras on November 2020, causing severe damages to road and bridge infrastructure, flooding houses and plantations, especially in the Copan region where COAGRICSAL operates in partnership with more than 1500 planting families. 

Coffee harvests have been impacted after strong rainfalls and winds stormed out the country. The damage to the coffee crops is still being assessed, while farmers face difficulties accessing the remaining plantations because of landslides and the destruction of infrastructure. At the time of writing, CONCAFE, the Honduran National Coffee Council, estimates that approximately 3% of the exportable production forecast for the 2020/21 harvest, up to 200,000 60kg bags are at risk of loss.

Thanks to the exceptional engagement of people on the ground, and donations from partners, such as Touton, the cooperative’s management team is now able to bring first aid supplies to local farming communities, improve road access and manage river and stream water flows.

Touton has been a trading partner of Cooperativa Agrícola Cafetalera San Antonio Limitada (COAGRICSAL) since 2015, offering coffee roasters the distinct quality of organic Honduran coffee beans, certified Fair For Life produced in the Copan region.

Florian Dumeaux, Director Coffee Department at Touton Group said: “Providing support for our friends at COAGRICSAL and their farming communities was an obvious choice. This cooperative really does an amazing job at turning coffee farming in Honduras into a more profitable and sustainable activity for local communities whilst delivering great quality coffee. It is our responsibility to back them up during these difficult times.”

On top of using modern technology and its own processing plant for the production and marketing of coffee, the certified cooperative is fully engaged in sustainable development and fair-trade processes. It guarantees full traceability of coffee beans and supports positive sustainable change amongst farming families in its community, including access to schooling, clean water, and roads. In 2019, the farmers’ fair price premium paid by Touton enabled further improvements to the Clinica Fundacion Manos Amigas, a medical and dental care center for the community, opened every day and employing Honduran healthcare staff.

Sandra Marleny Soriano, Chief Financial Officer at COAGRICSAL Honduras said: It is hard to witness the damage done to twenty years’ worth of coordinated efforts with our farmers to build a resilient and fair organic coffee production system. But the strong flood currents have not taken away our sense of solidarity and we are now rebuilding our homes and infrastructures to deliver our harvest. In these exceptional circumstances, we thank and recognize the value of having lasting trusted trading partners such as Touton.” 

Touton will continue to support COAGRICSAL and the Copan communities throughout their recovery efforts, sustaining their ability to return to normality and earn a decent living with quality coffee.

To learn more about latest relief developments and Coagricsal coffee, contact our coffee team in Bordeaux   

Launch of a project to tackle climate change impact in Ghana

Yesterday, 19 October, Touton and a consortium of partners signed an MoU to launch the Partnership for Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes (PPRCL). The signing event took place in Accra, Ghana during the 2nd National REDD+ Forum organised by the Ghana Forestry Commission. The event featured a keynote speech from the  President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.who applauded the launch of the new Partnership led by Touton.

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Touton's First Sustainable Sourcing Report

Touton is proud to share its 2015/2016 Sustainable Sourcing Report.
The report includes a description of our group’s holistic approach to sustainability as well as an overview of our projects on the ground. We take this opportunity to thank all our partners and customers for their support in our endeavors to improve sustainability in our supply chains.

 Download Our Report

Providing clove seedlings in Madagascar

As part of the Vokatra Mevan'i* programme, Touton Ingredients has just financed and will nurture 2000 clove seedlings in the Eastern part of Madagascar. Once ready, the plants will be distributed to farmers in the area of Ambodimanga who will then benefit from the expert advice of the CTHT (Technical Horticultural Centre of Tamatave) for a period of 3 years. Touton is committed to this partnership as it believes that the success of such a programme is the result of shared effort, shared knowledge and shared resources.

*Touton Good Products

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Climate Smart Cocoa

On 19 October Touton SA signed an MoU with the Ghana Forestry Commission detailing how the French company’s new project on climate smart cocoa supports and complements the Forestry Commission’s objectives in the implementation of the Ghana Cocoa Forest Redd+ Programme (GCFRP).

This new agreement builds on the MoU signed between the Ghana Cocoa Board & Touton SA at the end of 2014 outlining how both parties aimed to work together towards the development of a robust climate smart cocoa approach.

Learn more about this partnership :