It seems we just can’t get enough chocolate, and companies are expanding efforts to grow more cocoa.
Case in point: the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut, has announced plans to spend $1 million on a Center of Cocoa Excellence in the African nation of Ivory Coast. With this investment the company aims to double cocoa yields from farms in this key growing region.
As reported by ConfectioneryNews.com, the center will introduce advanced agricultural techniques to the region and will feature an expansive “showcase farm” to test the latest intercropping approaches. The farm will also feature other crops including coconut, mango, pineapple, and rubber. Farmers will be trained on grafting and farm regeneration techniques.
In addition to the farm, the center will feature a classroom, nurseries of cocoa and shade trees, as well as fermentation and drying facilities. The center is expected to be operational by October 2012.
Meanwhile, two other companies have teamed up for GrowCocoa, a sustainability effort created by Blommer Chocolate Co. and supply chain manager Olam International that aims to help farmers increase cocoa yields.
“The GrowCocoa brand was really something that was created most recently to put a name to our efforts in Indonesia and the Ivory Coast,” said Kip Walk, Blommer corporate director of cocoa and sustainability, in a report on CandyIndustry.com.
Chicago-based Blommer and Singapore-based Olam have both been working for several years to provide cocoa farmers with high quality, high-yielding agricultural practices and to help them improve their abilities to interact and compete in the cocoa industry.
In recent years, the two companies have helped a total of 55,000 farmers. In Indonesia, production increased by more than 40 percent from 2006 to 2010. Additionally, the average income for the Indonesian farmers increased 117%.
Chocolate lovers all over the world are probably thinking like we are, “More cocoa = more chocolate; Bring it on.”