Bakers Journal

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Cargill to roll out farmer training in Cameroon


July 5, 2011
By Bakers Journal

July 5, 2011, Wormer, Netherlands – Cargill is expanding its farmer training program to support cocoa producers in Cameroon.

The training program works with farmer cooperatives to support sustainable cocoa production and certification.

Cargill reports that cooperatives in the Ivory Coast, where the training program first launched, have benefited from average yield improvements of nearly 50 per cent, a 30 per cent reduction in major pest problems and quality improvements in bean fermentation.

Following the success of the pilot in the Ivory Coast, the training program is expanding to Cameroon, the world's fourth largest cocoa producer.

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“After the first year of UTZ certification, our pilot cooperatives in [Ivory Coast] have seen on average a 47 per cent increase in yields, rising from 559 to 882 kilograms per hectare,” said Harold Poelma, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s managing director cocoa. 

"As a result of the adoption of good agricultural practices around pruning and weeding, there also has been, on average, a 30 per cent reduction in major pests along with major improvement in the fermentation level of the beans and a decrease in humidity, due to improved drying and storage after harvest. These results convince us that we are following the right strategy in [Ivory Coast], and we will now adopt this successful policy in other cocoa growing countries where we feel we can make a real difference," Poelma added.

Cargill is the largest exporter of cocoa beans from both Ivory Coast and Cameroon. The company has built up its presence on the ground in Cameroon, comparable to that in Ivory Coast, including rural buying stations and warehouse facilities.

The company hopes this network, and its close relationship with farmers, will benefit farmers and their communities.

The farmer training program in Cameroon will be delivered in partnership with Telcar, Cargill's joint venture partner in the country. It is being launched in conjunction with the World Cocoa Foundation and Socodevi, a Canada-based network of cooperative businesses that supports farmer organizations' initiatives in the developing world.

The program will support the creation of a sustainable cocoa supply chain in the country, with the aim of achieving UTZ certification for cooperatives in 2012.