Global food company Nestlé plans to invest €1.25bn by 2030 in projects to tackle child labour risks, increase farmer income and achieve full traceability in cocoa production.
The extra funding represents a tripling of the KitKat, Cheerios and Nescafe owner's current annual investment in the areas.
The plan includes an accelerator program that will see a cash incentive of up to €481 a year for the first two years paid directly to households involved in cocoa farming for certain activities such as enrolling their children in school.
After the first two years, the funding will drop to €240 a year and continue at this rate.
Other activities that will be rewarded include the implementation of good agricultural practices, such as pruning, which increase crop productivity.
Agroforestry activities to increase climate resilience, like planting shade trees, will also be recognised, as will the generation of diversified incomes from the growth of other crops and the raising of livestock.
The company believes the project will assist the transition to more sustainable cocoa farming by encouraging behaviours and agricultural practices that should build social and economic resilience over time.
"Our goal is to have an additional tangible, positive impact on a growing number of cocoa-farming families, especially in areas where poverty is widespread and resources are scarce, and to help close the living income gap they face over time," said Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO.
"Building on our longstanding efforts to source cocoa sustainably, we will continue to help children go to school, empower women, improve farming methods and facilitate financial resources."
The accelerator payments won't be based on the volume of cocoa produced by farmers, thereby ensuring that those with small and large operations will be treated equally.
The payments will be split between the farmer and their spouse, as traditionally in the societies concerned it is the spouse who carries out childcare and household duties.
The program was piloted with 1,000 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire two years ago.
It will now be expanded to 10,000 more in that country and then into Ghana in 2024.
After that it will be reassessed before potentially being extended further to all cocoa-farmers in its supply chain.
Full traceability and segregation of its cocoa products from origin to factory will also be implemented by Nestlé.
A range of products with cocoa sourced from the program will also be introduced so that consumers can choose to support the initiative.