Bakers Journal

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Cocoa industry signs sustainability strategy in Ghana


May 28, 2014
By Bakers Journal

May 28, 2014, Accra, Ghana — Senior
executives from 12 of the world's largest chocolate companies signed a joint
agreement with the Government of Ghana as part of an unprecedented strategy to
make cocoa farming in the country sustainable.

The plan, announced known as CocoaAction,
calls for building a rejuvenated and economically viable cocoa sector through
increased cooperation between industry members and the Ghanaian government. Companies
that have voluntarily committed to CocoaAction include ADM, Armajaro, Barry
Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill, Ecom, Ferrero, Hershey, Mars,
Mondelēz, Nestlé and Olam International.

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Emphasis will be placed on providing cocoa
farmers with a combination of productivity enhancements and community
development interventions. These efforts are expected to enable no fewer than
100,000 Ghanaian farmers to achieve 100 per cent increase in productivity as
well as improving the communities where they live by 2020. The World Cocoa
Foundation (WCF) will coordinate the strategy. 

"This agreement represents one of the
most significant steps the sector is taking to make cocoa sustainable,"
said Barry Parkin, WCF's newly-appointed chairman and chief sustainability
officer at Mars, in a news release. "This alignment of objectives,
commitment of resources, and sharing of best practices is the type of
transformative initiative that will really help farmers become more productive
and secure the future of cocoa. While it represents a new way for the industry
to work with origin countries, it also builds on the strong existing
relationships with them. We are honored and proud to move these relationships
to a significant next step."

CocoaAction was carefully and voluntarily
developed by the companies in cooperation with the governments of Ghana and
Côte d'Ivoire, the world's top cocoa-producing countries. The two countries
provide about 55 percent of the world's current cocoa supply. CocoaAction will
later be extended to other cocoa-producing countries and is already open to
participation by others in the public and private sectors that support
sustainability in the cocoa sector. 

Through CocoaAction, the companies will
work closely with the Ghanaian government and other national institutions to
provide improved planting materials, fertilizer and training to cocoa farmers,
while promoting community development through education, child labor monitoring
and remediation, and activities to enhance gender empowerment. A series of
indicators, currently being developed by WCF, will accompany the strategy and
will allow companies and governments to measure and manage CocoaAction
progress.