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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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Mars is Named Best Private Company by Ethical Corporation

This week, Barry Parkin accepted a Responsible Business Award on behalf of Mars – the Best Private Company – given to us by the folks at Ethical Corporation.  Ethical Corporation provided information on sustainability for NGOs, think-tanks, academia, governments and service providers as well as to industry.  You can read more about the awards, and why Mars was selected, here.

We are particularly gratified … Read more

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Sourcemap and Mars Chocolate: Connecting Cocoa Communities

School children in Kragui

At Sourcemap, we make software that connects people across supply chains. That’s why we partnered with Mars Chocolate on Vision for Change (V4C), a sweeping initiative to improve cocoa productivity and farmer livelihoods in Côte d’Ivoire.  V4C is one element of the company’s Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, which is helping to secure the future of cocoa production by prioritizing the needs of farmers.

V4C includes … Read more

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Mars Chocolate and the International Labor Organization agree to Support the Child Monitoring Labor System of Côte d’Ivoire

In a first for Mars Chocolate, the company has entered into a public/private agreement with the International Labour Organization to introduce a Child Labor Monitoring System (CLMS) in select communities in the Soubré region of Côte d’Ivoire.  While Mars previously has supported the work of ILO and its division that specifically works on child labor, International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) through … Read more

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Genetic Markers Identified Along the Cocoa Genome

Ecuador- Brasil Jan 2012 059

When we – along with our partners from the US Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service, Indiana University, Hudson-Alpha Institute and IBM – mapped the cocoa genome in 2010, we knew that was the first step to using cocoa science research to create higher producing cocoa plants that did not sacrifice quality or flavor.  Mars has always had an interest in the scientific study … Read more

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Cocoa Doctor Andi Asri: Helping Others Also Makes Me Succeed

Cocoa Doctor Andi Asri 3 v.4

Andi Asri is a cocoa doctor in Awo Village, south Sulawesi, Indonesia. The first time I met Andi was in Dec 2012 at the first “Best Cocoa Village Center Competition” in CDC Tarengge. Compared with other cocoa doctors, who were quite nervous talking to the audience, Andi’s interactive and relaxed way of presenting his CVC impressed all of us.

As we were preparing for a … Read more

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Vision For Change Agroforestry Workshop

ICRAF workshop

The goal of the Vision for Change project to revitalize the cocoa sector in Soubré and across Côte d’Ivoire – so that it can result in well-trained cocoa producers, higher yields and a cocoa economy that benefits the entire community.

One major component of the project is to develop and disseminate sustainable management options for cocoa rehabilitation, including cocoa farm diversification. Farmers who rely solely … Read more

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Mars Chocolate Held Cocoa Agri-business Contest at Vocational Schools in Sulawesi

The 3 winning teams at the final competition

Cocoa has been the main income source for over half a million smallholders in Sulawesi, Indonesia. With the increasing need for cocoa worldwide, opportunities and challenges are facing the industry. Aimed at improving cocoa farmers’ lives as well as cultivating the next generation’s interests in cocoa, Mars Chocolate recently held a Cocoa Agri-business contest at vocational schools in Luwu, North Luwu and East Luwu, which … Read more

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Mars Video Vignette: Raising Livestock

In the Village of Kragui, meat comes at a premium. Even a small fish costs more than most farmers can afford. That’s why Bamba Gohou Aissata wants her farm to get in the business of raising livestock. In this video vignette, Bamba provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of a woman farmer in Kragui, where women continue to work hard in the fields even … Read more

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