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October 24, 2011

US$13.5m African cocoa initiative to be launched

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) have announced a $13.5 million initiative to support the African cocoa sector. The new African Cocoa Initiative (WCF/ACI), will invest in sustainable cocoa programs in West Africa, and is to be launched in the coming weeks.

Cocoa is one of the most significant crops in West and Central Africa, 90 percent of which is grown on two million small family farms.

WCF/ACI is a five-year, US$13.5 million program in the four producing countries of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria that will develop their cocoa sector in four critical areas: foster public-private cooperative investments in cocoa and agriculture, improve the genetic quality and productivity of the cocoa varieties under cultivation, expand farmer education and training programs, and improve the agriculture input supply chains that serve the farmers.

The four national governments have each endorsed WCF/ACI and are committing their agencies to participating and investing in its sponsored activities. Additionally, important international organizations will be contributing to its implementation.

These include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Alliance of Cocoa Producing Countries (COPAL) and the IFDC, which will be instrumental in providing expertise in genetics, cocoa policy and fertilizers, respectively, to the program. The program will be headquartered at WCF’s office in Accra, to support activities across the region.

Private sector funding for this program comes from WCF member companies ADM Cocoa, Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill, Continaf BV, Ferrero, Guittard Chocolate Company, The Hershey Company, Kraft Foods, Lindt and Sprüngli, Nestlé, and Olam International Ltd.

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