Cargill's pilot cooperatives in Ivory Coast show average cocoa yield improvement of nearly 50%, major pest reduction of 30%; company plans to expand sustainable cocoa production, certification training program to Cameroon

WORMER, Netherlands , July 5, 2011 (press release) – Farmer cooperatives in Cote d'Ivoire are benefiting from average yield improvements of nearly 50%, a 30% reduction in major pest problems and quality improvements in bean fermentation as a result of Cargill's farmer training to support sustainable cocoa production and certification. Following on from the success of these pilot cooperatives, the training programme is being expanded to Cameroon, the world's fourth largest cocoa producer.

Harold Poelma managing director cocoa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, explains: "After the first year of UTZ certification, our pilot cooperatives in Cote d'Ivoire have seen on average a 47% increase in yields, rising from 559 to 882 kilograms per hectare.

"As a result of the adoption of good agricultural practices around pruning and weeding, there also has been, on average, a 30% reduction in major pests along with major improvement in the fermentation level of the beans and a decrease in humidity, due to improved drying and storage after harvest. These results convince us that we are following the right strategy in Cote d'Ivoire, and we will now adopt this successful policy in other cocoa growing countries where we feel we can make a real difference," Poelma added.

Cargill, which is the largest exporter of cocoa beans from both Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon, has built up an extensive network and presence on the ground in Cameroon, comparable to that in Cote d'Ivoire, including rural buying stations and warehouse facilities. This extensive network, and the close relationship with farmers it brings, benefits farmers in Cameroon and their communities.

The programme of farmer training in Cameroon will be delivered in partnership with Telcar, Cargill's joint venture partner in Cameroon. It is being launched in conjunction with the World Cocoa Foundation and Socodevi, a Canada-based network of cooperative businesses that supports farmers organizations' initiatives in the developing world. The programme will support the creation of a sustainable cocoa supply chain in the country, with the aim of achieving UTZ certification for cooperatives in 2012.

This latest expansion of farmer training, which complements that previously announced in Vietnam, underlines Cargill's belief that training farmers successfully is key to building a sustainable supply chain as well as helping increase farmers' incomes and supporting the future growth of cocoa farming. In addition, such training also strengthens the governance of cooperatives and farmers' organisations, and helps build partnerships between these organisations and their communities.

Providing training and support enables farmers to increase yields, improve quality and through these - increase their incomes. By raising awareness of environmental, health and social issues Cargill's programme also helps strengthen local farming families and communities.

"In short, the training is directly benefiting farmers today and supports them in becoming successful entrepreneurs for the longer term," adds Poelma.

The UTZ Certified programme began in Cote d'Ivoire in 2008, and UTZ Certification is becoming increasingly recognised by industry and consumers as well as in the cocoa growing countries themselves.

"As a founder member of the UTZ Certified cocoa programme, we are pleased to see that UTZ Certification is becoming widely accepted across the cocoa sector, which is crucial in its objective to make sustainable cocoa mainstream. It is a promising start to a long-term journey towards sustainable cocoa," concludes Poelma.

About Cargill

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries.

Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business.

About Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate offers the food industry a wide range of both standard and customised cocoa and chocolate ingredients to be used in delicious bakery, confectionery, and dairy applications all over the world. Our product range includes high quality Gerkens(R) cocoa powders, chocolate, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters. With years of experience in technical food expertise Cargill supports its customers in new recipes and new product development. Our processing plants in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, the Netherlands, UK and the USA are fully dedicated to produce in accordance with the highest food safety standards.

To secure a good quality and sustainable supply of cocoa beans we have our own cocoa bean sourcing operations for buying handling and/or exporting of cocoa beans in Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia and Vietnam. Presence in all the leading producing countries allows Cargill to oversee the supply chain from beans at origin to cocoa and chocolate products on our customers' doorstep. In addition, extensive market research and analysis proves to be a source of valuable information to our customers.

About UTZ Certified Good Inside

UTZ Certified Good Inside is a sustainability program dedicated to creating an open and transparent marketplace for agricultural products. UTZ Certified has developed sustainability models for the production of cocoa, coffee and tea, and offers traceability services for palm oil. UTZ Certified's vision is to achieve sustainable agricultural supply chains in which farmers are trained to be professionals. The industry takes responsibility by demanding and sourcing sustainably grown products and consumers buy products that meet their standard for social and environmental responsibility.

In 2007, Cargill, Ecom Agroindustrial, Heinz Benelux, Mars, Nestlé, Royal Ahold, Solidaridad, Oxfam Novib, WWF and UTZ CERTIFIED founded the Good Inside cocoa program to ensure good agricultural, environmental and social practice in cocoa production. The first UTZ Certified cocoa and chocolate products are now available in the market.

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