Startup COOKO raises €800k for cocoa traceability

Ag-tech startup COOKO has raised €800,000 in pre-seed financing to develop its traceability system that aims to monitor the cocoa supply chain from farmer to food producer and help support sustainability.

The funding will be used to support COOKO’s national traceability platform in Cameroon, the fourth largest cocoa producer country worldwide. The system relies on the use of smart, cloud-enabled, harvesting containers that insert a “digital click” into the supply chain and enable swift and direct mobile payments to the farmer.

The fundraising comes as there is considerable scrutiny on cocoa production, not least from the EU which has launched a €25m initiative to advance responsible business practices in relation to child labour and child trafficking, the protection and restorations of forests, fighting climate change, and guaranteeing decent incomes for cocoa farmers.

That in turn stemmed from a process initiated by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in June 2019 aiming at increasing the price of cocoa on the world market and preventing the exploitation of farmers.

Efforts in the US meanwhile are focused on negotiating the FOREST Act, which is targeting commercial products linked to deforestation such as cocoa, meat, soy, palm oil, rubber, and wood pulp and would ban sales in the US of the products of illegal practices.

“By putting farmers first through innovative technology solutions, COOKO is incentivising first-mile traceability and automating compliance towards pending EU and German legislation,” said the company in a statement.

“The current round will provide roughly 12 months of runway in which COOKO will focus on strengthening partnerships through a deeper tech bench.” It added. “COOKO is changing the industry for good by doing good, at source. This investment, in a difficult funding environment, is a vote of confidence in the idea.”

COOKO has raised more than €1.7m for its platform since incorporating in July 2021.

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

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