African nations agree on cocoa sustainability plan
November 06, 2008
by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
MCLEAN, VA. — Mars, Inc. has announced that cocoa industry leaders and 250 delegates from 14 West and Central African countries have finalized a sustainable cocoa farming plan for Africa.
The 30-year plan is designed to help cocoa farmers significantly increase their income by growing trees that are higher quality, more resistant to disease and drought, and consume fewer natural resources.
"Mars is proud of our long history as the global leader in cocoa research and the contribution we continue to make to advancing cocoa science," said Howard-Yana Shaprio, global plant scientist for Mars. "For the first time, we have built consensus among the key stakeholders that cocoa farming in Africa must move to a more sustainable model … this is a quantum leap forward in working toward poverty elimination, renewing the fabric of the rural sector and stabilizing the lives of West African cocoa farmers."
The effort came through a symposium sponsored by Mars and hosted by the government of Ghana in collaboration with the Cocoa Producers Alliance. The event was the third in a series of Mars-sponsored events.
Goals of the effort include creating avenues for the effective transfer of scientific information, technology and funding; establishing systems that make advances in cocoa science easily adaptable on the farmer level; providing information channels that will reach farmers with pertinent updates on current market prices; government collaboration to ensure farmers get a greater portion of the price for cocoa; and utilizing generated incomes for improved social services and environmental rehabilitation.
Expected outcomes of the plan include thriving communities, recognition of African producers as consistently producing high quality cocoa, and transforming cocoa farming from subsistence to entrepreneurial models.