Cargill's cocoa and chocolate business has agreed to a memorandum of understanding that underlines its continued support for Ivorian cocoa farmers and the development of the country's cocoa sector.
Cargill will invest U.S. $3.25 million to develop and expand its farmer training program and support activities to enable cooperatives to obtain independent UTZ and Rain Forest Alliance certification. This includes a partnership with ANADER, Cote d'Ivoire's national rural development agency, to support farmer training activities and the distribution of 600,000 cocoa tree seedlings to participating cooperatives to help improve and renew existing cocoa farms.
The agreement with ANADER was signed at a ceremony in Abidjan by the Minister of Agriculture for Cote d'Ivoire, Monsieur Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly and Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer.
"Cote d'Ivoire remains one of the foremost producers of cocoa in the world, and this agreement strengthens our ongoing commitment to help improve the farming practices and the livelihoods of Ivorian cocoa farmers, as well as support the development of the country's cocoa sector," said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer.
The U.S. $3.25 million allocation for farmer training marks another step in Cargill's Sustainable Cocoa Program, which is its ongoing commitment to build a sustainable cocoa supply chain, support cocoa farmers and improve livelihoods in cocoa growing communities.
Cargill has been training Ivorian cocoa farmers for more than 10 years and today helps tens of thousands of farmers increase yields, improve quality and adopt more sustainable practices. In 2011/2012 it will train over 60,000 farmers across 90 cooperatives in Cote d'Ivoire through over 1,100 farmer field schools. This training has already enabled 44 farmer cooperatives to achieve independent UTZ certification and this figure will double to 90 certified cooperatives by October 2012.
The intensive 10-month programme for cooperatives and their members focuses on farming techniques and post-harvest activities such as pruning, plantation renewal and cocoa fermentation methods. In addition it also stresses broader social aspects, such as the importance of ensuring children's education and HIV awareness.
In crop year 2011/12 Cargill is forecasting to purchase 50,000 tonnes of certified cocoa, which will represent cocoa premium payments totalling over U.S. $9 million. Over 50 percent of these payments go directly to farmers with the remainder being invested by the cooperatives to provide assistance to members and to build local community facilities. Cargill is continuing to work closely with cooperatives to reach its target of 100,000 tonnes of certified sustainable cocoa beans from Cote d'Ivoire by 2015.
Additionally through its partnerships with CARE and the IECD, Cargill is improving access to healthcare, drinking water and renovating schools in 10 communities in San Pedro and Daloa. It has also renovated over 40 schools to provide education and practical farming skills to help young people improve their employment prospects.
Lionel Soulard, Managing Director West Africa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, said, "Successful cocoa growing communities are important both for the development of the Ivorian economy and for our own business. We want to continue to provide support and assistance, where we can, to help improve the quality, yields and incomes of farmers so that cocoa farming can continue to thrive in the country for many generations to come."
About Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate:
Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate offers the food industry a wide range of both standard and customised cocoa and chocolate ingredients to be used in delicious bakery, confectionery, and dairy applications all over the world. Our product range includes high quality Gerkens® cocoa powders, chocolate including Wilbur®, Peter's® and Veliche®, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters. With years of experience in technical food expertise Cargill supports its customers in new recipes and new product development.
Our facilities in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, the Netherlands, UK and the USA are fully dedicated to produce in accordance with the highest food safety standards.
To secure a good quality and sustainable supply of cocoa beans we have our own cocoa bean sourcing operations for buying, handling and/or exporting of cocoa beans in Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia and Vietnam. Presence in all the leading producing countries allows Cargill to oversee the supply chain from beans at origin to cocoa and chocolate products on our customers' doorstep. In addition, extensive market research and analysis proves to be a source of valuable information to our customers.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 138,000 people in 63 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit www.cargill.com.