Mars Chocolate and Le Conseil du Café et Cacao recently signed a Letter of Agreement (LOI) in Cote d’Ivoire that will directly benefit many communities that depend on cocoa for their livelihoods, through co-investment from Mars and Conseil Café Cacao in education, health, water, and protective environments for children, and through the development of a partnership platform approach that will, we hope, be attractive to other donors and partners to either join or replicate.
Mars embodies the core belief of putting Farmers First in the promotion of sustainable cocoa cultivation around the world. While some of this work focuses on productivity interventions to strengthen local economies, the second pillar of the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative’s Vision for Change is the Community Development work that this LOI embodies.
This agreement between Mars and the Conseil represents a landmark achievement that brings together industry and government in a joint manner to directly benefit communities using sustainable cocoa production as a powerful engine for economic and social development. Previously, it was not possible to reach a significant number of communities due to the high cost of infrastructure projects. Now that communities, private sector companies like Mars and the Conseil can work together, these critical projects are within reach for many more people.
Sustainable cocoa productio isn’t possible without thriving cocoa communities, and Mars believes that industry and government can work well together to make cocoa communities more attractive places for the next generation of healthy, educated cocoa farmers to live and work.
Mars has been especially passionate about providing better conditions for children in communities like Cote d’Ivoire, particularly through increased educational opportunities, as well as improved health and infrastructure. For Mars, addressing the Worst Forms of Child Labor begins with creating a protective environment for the children of cocoa communities today and making sure it is something communities can count on tomorrow and in the future.
Through the Ivorian government’s innovative Public Private Partnership Platform (PPPP), we see great opportunity for Mars’ peers in the private sector to work powerfully together with the Conseil to implement similar programs in many more communities. As well, Mars has identified excellent opportunities through the PPPP to enable the people of Cote d’Ivoire to benefit directly from assistance from major international donors.
The LOI represent’s Mars’ sincere belief that close collaboration with government is essential to implement projects that will have a meaningful impact on critical areas like infrastructure, health and education. Mars looks forward to continued collaboration with the Conseil and with others who appreciate the value of this work.