Topics Archives: Cote d'Ivoire

Dr. Ray Schnell on Joining Mars as Head of Cacao Plant Science

As a scientist, I’m interested in how new discoveries and knowledge can make life better for people, and this made me jump at the opportunity to join Mars as the new Global Chocolate Director of Cacao Plant science.  One of the pillars of our cocoa sustainability strategy is improved scientific research on the cocoa plant and how it’s cultivated.  With a better understanding of

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Cocoa advances in Cote d’Ivoire

Having just returned from a trip to Cote d’Ivoire to check in on our sustainability efforts there, I’m struck by the difference from my last visit. I was last in Cote d’Ivoire in 2010 when we signed the Memorandum of Understanding (click MoU to read the memorandum and here to watch the ceremony), just before a period of great political uncertainty.  Cote d’Ivoire is

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Putting the Cocoa Genome to Work

We announced our intention to map the cocoa genome in 2008 and were very excited to finish the project almost 3 years ahead of schedule.  We received many positive reactions, and hundreds of researchers have now downloaded our open-sourced genome dataset from www.cacaogenomedb.org.  The genome is now public property, and we have registered it so that no part of the sequence

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Africa Fairtrade Convention

Performers at the Africa Fairtrade Convention

Efforts to increase collaboration between cocoa producers, international traders, partner organizations and policy makers took a major step forward during the second annual Africa Fairtrade Conventionin Accra, Ghana on November 23rd through 26th.  The convention, which has grown substantially in just a year under the leadership of Fairtrade Africa Chairman Yorokamu Abainenamar and Executive

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Cocoa Productivity and Quality Improvement

With cocoa demand up, yields down and a shortage of new land to farm, cocoa research is critical to improving African, Asian and S. American cocoa farmer livelihoods through higher-quality and more productive crops.

My team and I recently participated in and helped fund a significant global research initiative that spanned multiple continents. The effort involved a dozen participating countries, industry leaders like us,

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U.S. Senator Tom Harkin Visits Ghana

One of the more intractable issues facing Mars and the entire cocoa industry is children on cocoa farms performing dangerous tasks or working instead of attending school. This is a high-profile issue that concerns social advocates and governments as well as customers and consumers. We share these concerns, and we don’t believe that the worst forms of child labor have any place in the

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Cocoa rehabilitation in Cote d’Ivoire: African agronomists trained on cocoa rehabilitation in Indonesia – Part 2

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As Mars Chocolate launches and grows its innovative Vision for Change cocoa sustainability program, we’re implementing new training programs to help African agronomists develop the necessary skills and knowledge for cocoa rehabilitation.

A team of Mars Chocolate technicians and I recently began training 13

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Cocoa rehabilitation in Cote d’Ivoire: African agronomists trained on cocoa rehabilitation in Indonesia

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The following blog post is from Hussin Purung, Mars Cocoa Sustainability Field Manager in Indonesia.

The West African cocoa industry is at

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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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