Nine international cocoa companies have agreed to invest ï¿½15million (US$19.4million) in sustainable cocoa programmes in West Africa and Indonesia, according to an IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative statement.
The companies are Nestle SA; Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Kraft Foods Inc.; Mars Inc.; Barry Callebaut AG, Armajaro Trading Group Ltd.; Continaf BV; Petra Foods Ltd.; and Ferrero SpA.
The statement disclosed that some 300,000 cocoa farmers will benefit from the programme, adding that the first project will run from this year to 2015 and aim to boost yields to at least 1,000 kilogrammes (2,204 pounds) a hectare (2.47 acres).
The Netherlands-based organisation said: ï¿½It will transform cocoa farming into a viable and sustainable business for smallholders, and by doing so increase the income of cocoa farmers.
ï¿½This programme will focus its activities on the use of fertiliser, professionalisation of cocoa farmers and financing mechanisms, and is a great promise for advancing progress in quality, productivity, and farmer-organisation.ï¿½
Demand for sustainable cocoa produced against credible standards is expected to reach as much as 50 percent of the yearly 4.5 million tonne total world demand.
With market pressures increasing, partners across the entire supply-chain are collaborating to secure long-term supply of sustainable cocoa.
ï¿½This represents a pathway toward a higher quality of life for thousands of farmers, by focusing on innovation and collaboration. Sustainability is essential to our business, and we are proud to support this initiative,ï¿½ said Peter van Grinsven, Cocoa Sustainability Director at Mars.
ï¿½As a convener, we have linked in this programme business together with local government and civil society organisations to jointly work towards a thriving cocoa economy.
ï¿½We believe that that the key to success lies with effective and cost-efficient collaboration of all these partners,ï¿½ said Programme Manager Jonas Mva Mva, IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative.
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