Upon arriving home after the MOU signing ceremony and field trip, I distinctly remember the feeling of both jet lag and optimism! I am happy to report that same optimism has carried through today.
The new Minister of Agriculture and the President of the Cocoa & Coffee Committee understand the issues in quality and productivity and are committed to reversing the negative trend. They acknowledge that previous tax revenues haven’t been used to support the local cocoa sector and they have plans to improve. The Cocoa and Coffee Committee members have substantial Commercial cocoa experience and truly understand the solutions required.
Now more than ever, I am committed to Certification and productivity as a means to address quality and social issues. Increased yields will drive re-investment. This year, farmers tried to re-invest increased revenues to purchase fertilizer, but the fertilizer suppliers didn’t anticipate the increased demand and supply ran out! We know how to increase yields by 3X and we must determine an implementation plan.
While this is only the first step of many towards revitalizing the Cote d’Ivoire cocoa sector, it is certainly a great start!