IDH and Mars Chocolate Inc Contract for Innovative Cocoa Productivity and Quality Program

IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative  is a trade body supported by the Dutch Government, designed to help promote sustainable trade and strengthen supply of different commodities in The Netherlands.

As the manager of the cocoa program at IDH I’m proud  of our ambitious initiative to transform the cocoa sector though mainstreaming sustainability. Our program aimed primarily on professionalizing farmers, so that they can increase productivity and quality of cocoa, comes at an ideal time. The global demand for sustainable cocoa is growing annually by 2-3% per year, yet the supply thereof is declining by 2% every year. There are a variety of complex economic, social, environmental and technical issues involved in sustainable cocoa, and with our industry and government partners we are eager to invest in this process that will ultimately create a stronger livelihood for farmers and more sustainable cocoa for consumers.


Our main initiative, the Cocoa Productivity and Quality Program (CPQP), will double, and in some cases triple, high quality cocoa yields among smallholder farmers. We’ve set the ambitious goal of reaching 300,000 farmers in West Africa – where production makes up to 70 percent of global cocoa supply.  Through the program we hope to transform cocoa farming into a viable and sustainable business for farmers, increasing their income through certification, training on good agricultural practices and rational use of fertilizer. We also bring along innovative models of input supply/fertilizer finance, and create an enabling environment to assist farmers in getting access to markets. On the market level, we facilitate collaboration between various stakeholders in the supply chain – from farmer organizations, fertilizer suppliers and NGOs, to financial institutions, producing country governments and industry partners. On the consuming countries level, we work with an increasing number of industry partners every year who have committed to sustainable chocolate production by 2015. For more details on our program, please visit our website:

We believe our best opportunity to create a sustainable cocoa market is by working together with cocoa industry partners, producing and consuming country governments, and the non-government sector.  Our CPQP program brings together 40 percent of the worldwide cocoa processing industry and 30 percent of the global chocolate manufacturing businesses.

As part of this effort, we recently signed a contract with Mars Chocolate to participate in CPQP that will enable the company to build on its existing cocoa initiatives in West Africa and Indonesia.  Mars Chocolate’s program includes collaboration on the ground through the development and expansion of Cocoa Development Centers (CDC’s) to cultivate and distribute stronger, more disease-resistant cocoa crops to farmers.  By the end of 2012, Mars hopes to open 10 CDC’s, and that number is expected to grow to 40 by 2015.

CPQP was launched in January 2012 in Cote d’Ivoire, with a workshop and with presentations of each industry partner, their initiatives and objectives of the program. Besides Mars, our industry partners include Armajaro, Nestlé, ADM, Kraft Foods, Barry Callebaut, Continaf, Petra Foods (Delfi) and Ferrero. By early summer we expect to have the first results from Mars and some of our other participating partners.

CPQP is a program that, for the first time ever, brought together and aligned the objectives of producing country governments, the industry partners and NGOs. It was a major success to get these different stakeholder groups aligned and working towards the same objectives – professionalization of farmers for the benefit of increasing global supply of cocoa.


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One Comment

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