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

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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

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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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Mars Video Vignette: Education in Soubré

There’s much work to be done to improve the education system in Côte d’Ivoire. In the video vignette below, cocoa farmer Ambofe Eric Didier discusses some of the obstacles that make it difficult for families to provide their kids with a proper education. Schools are far away, requiring kids to trek several kilometers multiple times a day to and from school, and they lack basic … Read more

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Mars Offers Recommendations at International Workshop on Cocoa Certification

Alastair CHild at ICCO 07-17-13

Everyone agrees that achieving sustainability is necessary for the long-term viability of the cocoa and chocolate sector. Successful sustainability initiatives – like organizations – are the ones that are able to improve and quickly respond to new challenges. The best way to improve is to listen to concerns and challenges from a wide variety of stakeholders and we were happy to see this in action … Read more

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Interview with Smilja Lambert: Unstoppable Passion for Cocoa

Smilja photo 07-10-13

Smilja Lambert is the Cocoa Sustainability Research Manager for the Asia Pacific region. She is responsible for the Mars cocoa sustainability research projects in this region, focusing mainly in Indonesia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Philippines.

I got a chance to travel with Smilja in early April, and she is probably the idea travel companion you could ever imagine: with thousands of stories, great knowledge … Read more

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Mars Video Vignette: Labor and Profit

In this video vignette, Kouamé Kouassi gives us an inside look at how labor is divided and wages managed on his farm at Petit Bouaké. On a cocoa farm, everything is done collaboratively; it has to be in order to maximize efficiency.

You’ll hear Kouamé discuss what it’s like to own a farm where three of his brothers also work and how he compensates his … Read more

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