Cocoa transforming lives in Vietnam

A recent article in Viet Nam News about the emergence of cocoa as an important crop in Vietnam highlights how Mars’s efforts in that country, in conjunction with our partners at USAID, USDA, the World Cocoa Foundation, and ACDI/VOCA, are aiding a women cocoa farmer, Hbim Kbrong, and her family:

For Hbim Kbrong, a M’Nong woman in Yang Tao Commune’s Phok Village, her new cocoa crops have transformed her livelihood after she decided to replace her family’s poor-yielding coffee crops with cocoa in 2007.

In the sand-laden area of Yang Tao commune in LaK District, locals used to depend on short-term plants like corns or cassava to supplement poor returns from coffee. However, all this has changed since cocoa was introduced through the Sustainable Cocoa Enterprise Solutions for Smallholders (SUCCESS) Alliance programme in Viet Nam.

The programme, a public-private partnership driven by USAID, USDA, the World Cocoa Foundation, Mars Inc. and ACDI/VOCA, provided Hbim’s family and nearly 40 others between 150 and 200 young cocoa plants each, fertiliser and technical training on how to grow cocoa plants.

After just three years, her cocoa garden was providing 400 kilos of dried-cocoa beans [from 400 trees (H’Bim received 400 trees from project as for two families, herself and her sister)]. She sold the beans and received more than VND22.4 million (approximately US$1,060) for her efforts.

“That was the most money I’d ever had at that moment,” said Hbim.

The article also looks at how cocoa is helping more and more farmers in Vietnam raise their incomes and is beginning to compete with coffee and cashews as a lucrative crop there.  We anticipate that cocoa – and cocoa farmers – will make great strides in Vietnam in the coming year.

Read more at Viet Nam News.

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