COCOA LIFE EXPANDS IN COTE D'IVOIRE
By Cathy Pieters - 06/17/13
On May 27th 2013 I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of Mondelez International with the Conseil du Café Cacao of Cote d'Ivoire.
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The event took place in the busy port town of San Pedro during the annual plenary session of the Ivorian Public Private Partnership
Platform hosting over 200 players in the Ivorian Cocoa Industry.
San Pedro is an important link in our cocoa supply chain – as it is the largest port for cocoa and much of the cocoa we buy moves through there.
It was the first time I had visited that area of Cote d'Ivoire and on the trip down the coast, I passed through the cocoa growing areas, and I was struck again on the importance of the crop to Cote d'Ivoire.
I signed the agreement with Madam Touré, who shared her enthusiasm and particularly appreciated how this milestone shows humble determination which she hopes other players in the Cocoa Industry will follow.
This new agreement is significant as it is the formalization of our engagement in Cote d'Ivoire and represents the foundation of our partnership. It will allow us to expand the Cocoa Life program.
Our shared agenda is to develop a thriving and sustainable cocoa economy in Cote d'Ivoire through promoting sustainable development in cocoa growing communities. We believe that by working together this will be possible, because the Conseil du Café Cacao shares Cocoa Life's three key principles:
- Cocoa Life is farmer-centered. Cocoa Life will work with farmers and their communities to improve their livelihoods, doubling their crop yields and eradicate crop diseases through education, new tools, and innovative practices are part of the program next to specific actions addressing the cocoa farmer community needs.
- Our growth is empowered and maintained through strong partnerships. Only by working together with key government organizations including ANADER, CNRA and FIMR (the Rural Investment Fund) will the vision of the MOU materialize.
- We are aligned with our sourcing. We believe integrity and accountability are as important to the program as sun and water are to the cocoa trees.
Cocoa life is affecting change through its pilot program, beginning with nine communities. The first stage of the program organizes local meetings where community members discuss their priorities and agree upon a community action plan. Specific meetings for women have also been established. Additionally, the Mondelēz Research and Development team has spent much time in Cote d'Ivoire and plans to provide new cocoa trees that will be more resistant to pests and diseases, while providing higher yields.
Now that we have this partnership, we will be able to scale up the Cocoa Life program in Cote d'Ivoire.
"Building community trust is the first step in building a successful program."
Alex Assanvo, manager of Cocoa Life in Côte d’Ivoire
Read more about our commitment in the press release, and I hope you will enjoy the interview with Debrah a farmer in Ghana who shares his experience from the Cocoa Life programme.