Regions Archives: North America

A Commitment to the Future of Indonesian Cocoa






Bright waves of orange and black broke the green landscape on this sunny day in Tani Madiri Village.  I had arrived just in time for the ceremony and celebration called “Commitment for the Future,” and had a front row seat.  Eight teens – four gals and four guys – were performing at traditional harvest dance as the community was

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Cocoa and Food Security

As many of us know, millions of small scale farmers in West Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia depend on cocoa for their household incomes and livelihoods. But is there a link between cocoa farming and food security? In our opinion, the answer is “yes” for several reasons.

First, as a perennial tree crop, good cocoa cultivation fosters crop diversity and the integration of

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The Future of Certification: Farmers Must Come First

Last Thursday, SustainAbility published a study to consider the future of certification systems. The study, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, was supported by Mars (along with many other companies) and found:

[…] there is a need to deconstruct and evolve the old model that combines standards, certification and on-pack marks. Instead we urge a shift towards a new model based upon increasingly demanding and pre-competitive

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Success Alliance for Cocoa in the Philippines

In June I had a wonderful opportunity to see the Success Alliance program in action on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.  The program is run by ACDI/VOCA with the support of USAID and the World Cocoa Foundation, of which Mars is a member.  Broadly, Success Alliance works to enable farmers to create successful businesses around cocoa production, and this can include

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World Cocoa Foundation Partners Meeting in San Francisco

The last two days brought together a huge range of government officials, private companies and civil society groups for the biannual partners meeting of the World Cocoa Foundation in San Francisco.  This meeting focused on emerging cocoa origins, and Asia was a focus for many attendees.  Particularly interesting was a presentation by Swisscontact’s Manfred Boer on their 21 month, $7 million dollar PEKA Project

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Partnership to Save Cocoa and Help Farmers

Back in 2008, Mars announced plans to “unlock” the cacao genome to better understand the plant, improve its quality, and bolster its production. Mars and its partners – USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and IBM – said it wouldn’t be done until 2012. Well, three years early, help is on the way for 6.5 million cocoa farmers and the 40-50 million people who rely

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Jet Lagged but Optimistic

Upon arriving home after the MOU signing ceremony and field trip, I distinctly remember the feeling of both jet lag and optimism! I am happy to report that same optimism has carried through today.

The new Minister of Agriculture and the President of the Cocoa & Coffee Committee understand the issues in quality and productivity and are committed to reversing the negative trend. They

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Thoughts on our Work in Cote d’Ivoire

April 5, 2010 – As a member of the Mars Cocoa Sustainability Team, work in West Africa has always represented both a business and a personal challenge in terms of making significant and meaningful progress towards sustainability. Since our decision to focus greater effort in the world’s largest cocoa producer, Côte d’Ivoire, each of us has been determined to work in collaboration with the

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