The distribution forms part of the firm’s wider Cocoa Plan initiative, a spokesperson for the company told ConfectioneryNews.com.
The firm will hand out 600,000 saplings by the end of the month, according to Reuters.
Launched in 2009, the programme aims to boost sustainable cocoa supply in Ivory Coast and other cocoa producing regions.
Under the plan, Nestlé said it will invest CHF110m (€94m) in cocoa plant science and sustainability initiatives over the next decade.
The investment builds on the CHF60m the firm has invested in cocoa sustainability initiatives over the last 15 years, said the firm.
The chocolate giant said it began its research into the production of higher quality, high-yield cocoa over 10 years ago at its research centre in Tours, France.
In spring 2009, Nestlé also opened a research and development centre in Abidjan in the Côte d’Ivoire as a base in West Africa.
Based on the work and research done at these two centres, the company said it has made a decision to distribute one million high-yield cocoa plantlets to Ivory Coast farmers each year, starting from next year.
Nestlé said the plantlets can help farmers rejuvenate their farms and increase productivity by replacing old, low-yield, disease-prone trees.
As well as donating the plantlets, the plan includes farmer training and assistance in the region which will help to achieve “more efficient, sustainable farming methods, such as the effective pruning of trees, fermentation and drying of beans”, said Nestlé.
The firm said it is also training plant scientists in other cocoa-producing countries, such as Ecuador and Indonesia, in accelerated cocoa tree propagation.
Ghana’s cocoa aims
Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer also has plans to increase its cocoa production, boosting its supply up to 1.2m metric tons of beans a year by 2015, according to Bloomberg.
The goal will be achieved due to new tree plantings, Yaw Adu-Ampomah, deputy CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said in an interview in Accra last week.
The CEO said up to 600,000 hectares will be replanted as part of a six-year program ending in 2017.