Qualitative & Quantitative
methods, 3 cases

Independent evaluation of the cocoa program after 2 years

Research carried out in Sulawesi and Sumatra


Publication date: March 2016

This research was independently carried out by AidEnvironment, serving the dual purpose of demonstrating UTZ’s contribution to positive change on farms and the cocoa sector, as well as creating a deeper understanding of how UTZ can increase its impact in the future. The research methods used are Case Studies and Validation Workshops. The research was commissioned and financed by UTZ.


Cocoa is Indonesia’s fourth crop in area planted after oil palm, coconut and rubber. Two thirds of the cocoa is produced in Sulawesi and 22% in Sumatra. The vast majority (95%) of cocoa plantations in Indonesia are cultivated by 1.6 million smallholder farmers cultivating an area of 1.7 million ha. The UTZ cocoa program took off in Indonesia in 2012 and is growing rapidly. Currently, more than 20,000 farmers are part of the program. They are located on the islands of Sulawesi, Aceh, Sumatra and Bali.



Thanks to training, certified farmers have more awareness of sustainable farming practices, and that led to the better adoption of sustainable practices such as pruning and sanitation, pest and disease management, and fertilizer use.

Additionally, certified farmers have much higher motivation to produce cocoa than non-certified farmers. An intangible yet valuable benefit of the program is the boost of farmers’ self-esteem through good performance.


Certified farmers have improved storage, handling and disposal of agrochemicals compared to non-certified farmers. There was increased awareness of the requirements around the use of agrochemicals and personal protective equipment among certified farmers.


Certified farmers receive a higher price for their cocoa. An important contribution of UTZ certification is the promotion of more direct trade relations between farmers and buyers. Farmers reported that they valued stable trade relationships and training more than a premium.


Certified farmers have increased yield and quality of their cocoa compared to non-certified farms. Average yield for certified farmers was double that of non-certified farmers (687 versus 322 kg/ha).


Improve yields –The UTZ program led to a significant increase in the yield of cocoa farms, though the level had not yet reached the optimal level achievable in this context. UTZ is part of the ‘Cocoa Sustainability Partnership’ sector platform in Indonesia, which has identified this issue as a priority and is actively working to address it as part of its 2020 roadmap.

Focus on Training – Training (which is a requirement of the UTZ program) is one of the most appreciated benefits of the UTZ program. Training has not only increased farmers’ knowledge on good agriculture practices, but also their general motivation and interest in farming. UTZ already places training at the heart of the program, and over the coming years will be further developing the provision of guidance documents as well as the online learning platform, the UTZ Academy.

Increase market demand – Not all certified farmers in the study were assured direct market access for their certified produce. A good connection with, and understanding of, the efforts and impact of certified cocoa production is key for markets to further invest in the sustainability of the sector. UTZ aims to strengthen that understanding, and therefore create a higher demand for certified cocoa.

UTZ Response

“We welcome the findings of the study as well as the recommendations of the research team. In a relatively short period of time, concrete and significant improvements were realized at farm level, with the adoption of better farming practices, safer working conditions and more environmentally friendly practices.”

Male and female UTZ farmers with cocoa pods in Indonesia“Before the program, I went perhaps once a week to my farm, without motivation. Thanks to the program I am on my farm every day with a lot of spirit.” UTZ certified farmer, Indonesia


94% say access to training is an important benefit

100% improved their storage / handling of pesticides

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