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Cocoa futures

Cocoa futures

By Charlie Pye-Smith
Published by World Agroforestry Centre
Website: www.worldagroforestry.org
2011, 48pp, ISBN 978 9 29059 300 3 (Pb), free to download

Over 6.5 million smallholder families make a living from cocoa and, to keep pace with the growing demand for chocolate, it is estimated that production has to rise by 1 million tonnes in the next ten years. Cocoa futures documents how hundreds of thousands of cocoa farmers in Indonesia have seen their incomes and yields double and how these lessons are being used to revitalise the cocoa industry in other countries.

Cocoa futures succinctly explains how Mars Inc and their partners in Indonesia have helped cocoa farmers combat the cocoa pod borer, replace ageing cocoa trees, and implement good agricultural practices, successfully improving productivity and livelihoods. At Mars Cocoa Development Centres, farmers see demonstrations on the use of superior planting materials, different methods of rehabilitating old cocoa trees and managing pests and diseases, and post-harvest practices.

To support this work, Mars also trains 'cocoa doctors' and helps them to establish village cocoa clinics. Each clinic is a business, run by a trained 'cocoa doctor', but the clinics are also vital demonstration sites where farmers are able to see best practice, buy high-quality planting material and receive advice.

With funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), farmers in Papua are now benefitting from the expertise developed by Mars, and in 2010 Mars launched a public-private partnership with the World Agroforestry Centre to revive the cocoa industry in Côte d'Ivoire. This partnership "will not only improve cocoa productivity, but also encourage farmers to plant a mosaic of different crops and restore a degraded environment," Charlie Pye-Smith writes. "This should dramatically improve the welfare of rural communities, and ensure that Mars and its competitors have a high-quality supply of the raw material they need to prosper in the future."

Date published: October 2011


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