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ADM invests US$4.4m to boost cocoa production in Ivory Coast

By Helen Glaberson , 29-Aug-2011

Global confectionery supplier Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is injecting US$4.4m (€3m) into its Ivory Coast cocoa programme as the country tries to recover from its recent civil turmoil and an EU ban on one of the region’s most important exports.

As ADM Ivory Coast cocoa operations start to resume, the company said it is meeting with cocoa cooperatives to offer support in restoring production and marketing operations in the region.

Although the majority of the country’s unrest occurred in the city of Abidjan, farmers throughout the Ivory Coast have been affected by a breakdown of the supply chain, said the ingredients supplier.

It is estimated that almost half a million tonnes of cocoa were held up at the country’s ports by the conflict which lasted more than seven months, according to ADM.

The new investment forms part of the firm’s bid to resume full production in the Ivory Coast, said the firm who has organised a 22-person team to help local coca growers improve their farming practices to boost cocoa supply.

The teams are split into four groups, one for each region in the Ivory Coast and are comprised of agricultural engineers, marketing representatives and cocoa farming specialists.

Increased production

The US$4.4m investment is part of ADM’s Socially and Environmentally Responsible Agricultural Practices Programme (SERAP), which was set up by the company in 2005.

One of the world’s first sustainable cocoa programmes, the scheme has distributed over US$10.4m to cooperatives and their members according to ADM.

ADM said participation in the SERAP programme has tripled since its implementation in 2005, providing almost 49,000 metric tonnes of sustainable cocoa over this time.

“SERAP provides education to cooperatives regarding management and market access, giving cocoa growers the business skills to become more prosperous farmers,” said the firm.

According to ADM, during SERAP’s initial 2005-2006 growing year, six cooperatives with approximately 6,000 farmer members participated and delivered 4,000 metric tonnes of cocoa.

In the 2010-2011, over 22,000 farmers delivered more than 24,000 metric tones of the commodity.

“Cocoa bean quality analysis has shown that SERAP participants regularly achieve a higher standard of quality due to the technical support and financial incentives provided through the programme,” said ADM.

Cocoa growers who commit to implementing sustainable farming practices are also awarded with financial incentives, it said.

Since SERAP’s inception in 2005, ADM said it has distributed more than $10.4m in incentives to cooperatives and their members.

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