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African Cocoa Breeders Working Group (ACBWG) meets in Reading UK in October


With support from MARS, Inc. and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), the African Cocoa Breeders Working Group (ACBWG) met in Reading, U.K. from October 14-18 to discuss progress made by regional projects originally launched through this collaborative network.

Breeders from Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo met with scientists from the University of Reading, the International Center for Agricultural Research and Development (CIRAD), the … Read more

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Cocoa Academy: Indonesia’s Cocoa Doctor Robin

Cocoa Doctor Robin Chart 110713

Robin is one of the first cocoa doctors to graduate from the Cocoa Academy. In 2010, when he brought back the grafting technique to Mayoa village, it was still a very new concept to most of the cocoa farmers. With a 95% guaranteed survival rate and the pioneer advantage of setting a relatively higher price (budwood at $0.3 USD each, grafting service at $ 1USD/tree), … Read more

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Mars Ambassador Program Visits Vision for Change in Côte d’Ivoire

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Every year, Mars offers to several volunteer associates the possibility to take part in the Mars Ambassador Program. This consists of assignments in various areas worldwide that focus on societal and environmental challenges that are linked to Mars business.

As part of this program, I had the opportunity to travel in September 2013 to Côte d’Ivoire, to work on an important aspect of Vision 4 … Read more

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Cocoa Sustainability Discussed at the UN Global Compact’s Leaders Summit

A few weeks ago, Barry Parkin spoke at the UN Global Compact’s Leaders Summit in New York City.  The triennial summit brings together high‐level ministers from different countries, CEOs, and executives from civil society. This year, the theme was Architects of A Better World and it focused on engaging the business world with the agenda of the United Nations.

In addition to discussing cocoa sustainability … Read more

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Professor David Zilberman: On Life and Cocoa in the Ivory Coast


David Zilberman, a professor of agriculture and resource economics at University of California Berkeley, recently visited Côte d’Ivoire and shared her perspective on his blog.  He has agreed to allow us to repost it here, but you can also find it at the Berkeley Blog:

This week I returned from my fourth trip to Africa, this time to the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire, but … Read more

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Cacao’s Genetic Diversity

Martin Gilmour, Cocoa Sustainability Research Director of Mars Chocolate, co-authored an Executive Perspective at Thomson Reuters with Stephan Weise, Deputy Director General Research of Bioversity International about the importance of genetic diversity in cocoa as a part of cocoa sustainability.  The article discusses why the genetic diversity of cacao is essential part of farmer productivity:

90% of the global supply of cocoa comes from 5 … Read more

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Candy & Snack Today looks at Cocoa Sustainability Initiatives

Andy Harner and trainee, Cote d'Ivoire Dec. 2011

In case you missed it, Candy & Snack Today’s July/August issue featured a long special report on cocoa sustainability initiatives across the sector.  Along with other industry efforts, Mars’ Sustainable Cocoa Initiative was mentioned quite prominently.  Quoted in the piece was Andrew Harner, Global Cocoa Vice President, who summed up the challenges by saying, “we know that demand for cocoa has gone up by an … Read more

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Video Vignette: Healthcare and Traditional Medicine

For cocoa farmers who spend long hours laboring at their farms, dealing with injuries is a part of the job. In this video vignette, Bamba Gohou Aissata and Ouattara Mariam discuss how farmers in the Village of Kragui cope with the healthcare challenges posed by living in a small farming community without many healthcare options or easy access to major hospitals.

Since road conditions … Read more

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Usman Siraje: Curiosity Leads to Prosperity

Usman pic 2

This post is co-authored by Akhmad Anshari

Usman Siraje is very different from other cocoa farmers we’ve met in Indonesia.

In 1970, Usman started his first business, a clothes workshop, which supported his family until 1984. After 14 years, as the business went bad, Usman closed the workshop and bought 3Ha land at Buntu Batu Village in Luwu District, and started his new career as … Read more

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Monitoring & Evaluation: A New Frontier in Cocoa Sustainability

We want to make sure the work we are doing is having its intended outcomes of tripling farmer productivity in thriving cocoa communities so that we can do our part to contribute to a long-lasting, positive impact in cocoa communities; that is where monitoring and evaluation becomes an important part of the work we do.

It’s easy to talk about the long term impact that … Read more

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