2012 was a banner year for the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, and in particular for our Vision for Change projects in the Soubré region of Cote d’Ivoire. We saw marked improvement in the four key areas of productivity, community development, monitoring and evaluation, and coalition building. We thought we’d share with you just some of the important achievements we saw last year.
In the area of productivity:
- 17 Cocoa Development Centers (CDCs) were established in Soubré, of which 4 are Franchise CDCs from industry partners ECOM and Barry Callebaut
- 5 Cocoa Village Center (CVC) operators have been selected
- 60 tons of OCP fertilizer were delivered to San Pedro, of which 50 tons were applied on farms
In the area of community development:
- The Conseil Café Cacao agreement was signed to ensure government funds are available for terroir plans
- Community development plans for 8 terroirs were elaborated and 316 micro-projects were validated
With regard to monitoring & evaluation, a strategy was finalized, while data collection methods were developed and baseline data regarding the first group of CDCs were collected. This is important for us to know how effective our direct intervention efforts are moving forward. As for coalition building, we are pleased that there was high level recognition of Vision for Change as a model for sector transformation – the World Bank and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) complementing our efforts with their own in Soubré. Our policy team are repeatedly solicited as expert advisors. And Mars Chocolate was the lead sponsor of the World Cocoa Conference in November 2012.
We believe that 2012 was a singularly important year for the effort to make sustainable cocoa the industry standard by 2020. Not only did we see real and dramatic improvements on the ground in Cote d’Ivoire and elsewhere, we also saw more members of the industry and others discussing the real challenges – and opportunities – associated with cocoa sustainability. We are looking forward to an even more productive 2013, which will be a year of scale, moving from the pilot phase to large scale projects.