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Barry Callebaut Invests in Cocoa Farming Amid Price Surge

Swiss chocolatier Barry Callebaut AG launches an initiative to invest in cocoa farming as prices for the key chocolate ingredient soar, squeezing profits for confectioners.

The company is piloting and developing best practices in sustainable cocoa farming in Brazil and Ecuador, it said in a statement on Thursday. The initiative aims to create a scalable and profitable model to address the severe cocoa shortage that has spurred record-high prices.

Barry Callebaut's Future Farming Initiative seeks to modernize sustainable cocoa farming at scale and encourage partnerships with farmers, it said. The company has signed an agreement with a high-tech farming business in Brazil to develop 5,000 hectares of land, and its property in Ecuador's Cerecitas Valley will also be part of the initiative.

Steven Retzlaff, currently president of global cocoa, will lead the initiative as executive chairman, reporting to CEO Peter Feld. "We believe with FFI, we will not only bring cocoa farming to industrial levels but also help make sustainable cocoa the norm," Retzlaff said.