YACAO is a subsidiary of the Suisse company PRONATEC. It started as a project in the Yamasá region of the Dominican Republic in 1999, aiming at producing high-quality cocoa for export while providing poor smallholders with a sustainable income. Today, YACAO buys cocoa from more than 2,000 small-scale farmers throughout the country. All of them are either already organically certified or in transition to organic production. At the BIOFACH 2020 congress session "Fraud, gaps and loopholes: private and public counteractions and enforcement to complement regulations", Beat Wiederkehr, general manager of YACAO, presented together with his consultant Roman Hipper why YACAO is a best practice model when it comes to transparency, traceability and accountability among grower groups.
In order to get ahead of potential fraudulent behaviour, YACAO decided to digitalize substantially so that the time between an inspection and the corresponding information being available to the management can be shortened. Therefore, YACAO started a strategic alliance with Organic Services. By using Organic Services' ICS-tool Group Integrity, working closely together with CERES and by developing some internal applications together with Hipper consult, the company managed to gain control from the farm to the vessel.
Successes from the digitalisation initiative: