Stories tagged: cocoa

CNFA & Partners Announce New Steps to Cultivate Quality Cocoa in Cote d’Ivoire

By Sheryl Cowan, Vice President of Programs, CNFA and Marc Steen, CNFA’s Chief of Party of the Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA)

Cote d’Ivoire is the largest cacao-producing country in the world, and earnings from the cultivation and sale of cocoa support 3.5 million Ivorians, including many smallholder farmers and their families. Yet, the cocoa industry in the country has been primarily geared towards production and less on quality, preventing farmers from supplying to and reaping the benefits from the growing fine chocolate industry.

From seedling to tree, the status of successful cultivation mirrors the financial health of the communities that depend on cocoa cultivation. However, smallholder Ivorian cocoa farmers have limited capacity to increase the amount of quality beans they can sell, and often lack access to competitive markets, which would otherwise be a viable means of increasing their income and improving their livelihoods.

Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international agricultural development organization, announced that the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) and the Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) project, implemented by CNFA, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at FCIA’s Elevate Chocolate Summer 2018 meeting to address this challenge.

CNFA’s Alex Brandes shares information on USAID’s Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity during FCIA’s Elevate Chocolate Summit on June 30 in New York City.

MOCA, a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food for Progress program provides capacity-building, training and other support services to cocoa producers, cooperatives and exporters in Côte d’Ivoire with the aim of improving the supply of high-quality cacao beans and increasing farm incomes. Activities to improve and expand the trade of cocoa and cocoa products focus on improving the quality of the crop, the processing and post-harvest handling techniques, and strengthening the market linkages and organization of groups towards more adequately meeting existing market demand.

FCIA, whose members focus on the production of premium chocolate and encourage utilizing the best practices in cocoa production and processing, will collaborate with MOCA to support the project through its membership activities.

“This collaboration enhances the individual efforts of MOCA and FCIA to improve the efficiency of the cocoa value chain in Côte d’Ivoire,” said CNFA President and Chief Executive Officer Sylvain Roy. “FCIA’s counsel will help farmers and businesses refine their production to meet the needs of the fine chocolate market—and MOCA’s training and guidance will improve the crop quality, processing, post-harvest handling and market linkages necessary to produce those high-quality products and get them to market.”

“This memorandum of understanding establishes a strong mutual bond between two parties who share a keen interest in cultivating the finest, high-quality cocoa,” said FCIA President Clark Guittard. “Through our new relationship with MOCA, our organization gains an informed, on-the-ground presence in the world’s leading cocoa-producing region.

The main thrust of the three-year MOCA program is to increase the productivity and efficiency of stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa value chain to boost the quality of crops, expand cocoa trade and ultimately improve the incomes and livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

This partnership will provide added impetus to the most important goal of the MOCA initiative—generating increased incomes for the 600,000 smallholder farmers and families in Côte d’Ivoire who produce more than a third of the world’s cocoa supply, but live on less than $2 a day.

Featured image credits: CNFA, Nestlé

#FillTheGap! Equal rights are brewing in Colombia

This is the fifth post of Farming First’s #FillTheGap campaign to highlight the gender gap facing rural women working in agriculture.

For 15,000 families in the remote and rural towns surrounding Tumaco, western Colombia, the cocoa growers’ association (COMCACAOT) has been something of a lifeline.

Established only five years ago, most of the union’s members come from Afro-Colombian communities that suffered from Colombia’s internal conflict and opted to grow cocoa as a means to overcome poverty. Around 40 per cent of COMCACAOT members are women.

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Louis Malassis Prize Shortlist: The Story Behind the Science of Dr. Claire Lanaud

Farming First is pleased to act as media partner for the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize and the inaugural Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security. Our blog series has showcased stories from scientists nominated for these prestigious prizes.

The final blog in this series outlines the work of Dr. Claire Lanaud, nominated for the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Distinguished Scientist. Continue reading

Cocoa Offers New Hope for Nicaraguan Farmers

Cocoa beans from the Criollo tree, native to Nicaragua, are prized by gourmet chocolate makers for their exceptional aroma, flavor and quality. Fine cocoa typically commands a price anywhere from two to five times higher than conventional cocoa. Yet Nicaragua exports fewer than 1,000 tons of cocoa a year, almost none of it fine cocoa.

In 2006, TechnoServe began assisting 80 small-scale farmers to capitalize on the business opportunity presented by Criollo cocoa. These farmers have planted about 100,000 native cocoa trees and resumed production on cocoa trees that had been abandoned. Chocolate makers such as Domori and Ritter Sport have already expressed interest in the high-quality cocoa.

By 2013, TechnoServe expects farmers in the program to export about 70 tons, or $200,000 worth of cocoa. The long-term vision is to help as many as 25,000 farmers participate in the industry. And by planting or preserving more than 300 acres of trees, the program is helping to preserve Nicaragua’s rich biodiversity.