BA RIA VUNG TAU, VIETNAM — Cargill has opened its first Cocoa Technology Transfer Center in Ba Ria Vung Tau.

The center, which was built at a cost of $60,000, will be the first center to serve as a cocoa training campus for about 2,000 farmers in Ba Ria Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Binh Thuan provinces. The center has one training room with capacity for up to 200 people, an office, a cocoa post-harvest processing unit and a 1.7-hectare demonstration cocoa farm. The center, together with other technical training programs, will help farmers improve yields by 30% to 50% in three years, Cargill said.

“Cargill sustainability means making cocoa farmers more successful for generations to come,” said Job Leuning, Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business leader for Asia Pacific. “The Cargill Cocoa Promise underlines Cargill’s commitment to lead efforts on sustainable cocoa and support cocoa farmers around the world. We are excited that we are able to help farmers in Vietnam and closely collaborate with the government.”

Cocoa is a new crop in Vietnam currently grown by about 25,000 farmers in central highlands, Mekong delta and southeast provinces. As a new crop, many farmers still lack the knowledge, skills and expertise to achieve higher yields, Cargill said.

The company said it hopes the new center will equip farmers to thrive by providing the right skills and expertise.

Cargill has been training cocoa farmers around the world for almost 15 years. Today, its Farmer Training Schools provide intensive training on good agricultural techniques, post-harvest practices and business skills, among other things. The training is a key to increasing the productivity of thousands of farmers in Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Brazil, Indonesia and most recently, Vietnam.