Coronavirus

Cocoa industry pulls together to offer more financial support for farmers to help with COVID-19

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cocoa farmers and their families have been pledged more financial aid to fight the spreading coronavirus. Pic: WCF
Cocoa farmers and their families have been pledged more financial aid to fight the spreading coronavirus. Pic: WCF

Related tags: coronavirus, Cocoa, WCF

New initiative builds on other industry efforts to help cocoa farmers respond to coronavirus pandemic and is backed by more than 30 companies and organizations.

Global cocoa and chocolate companies are donating $835,000 to help cocoa farmers and their families fight the spreading coronavirus by supporting the national emergency plans of governments in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The fund-raising effort by companies comes on top of other efforts to fight the virus by the industry. Many of the large cocoa and chocolate companies are making major financial contributions to international relief and humanitarian organizations. These commitments already total hundreds of millions of dollars and are supporting the emergency response around the world.

This latest industry response was spearheaded by the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO), BDSI, the European Cocoa Association (ECA), the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC) and World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).

Health efforts

A spokesperson for the WCF said most of the money will go to Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the biggest cocoa producers. It will also support health efforts in other major origin countries, including Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador and Indonesia.

The resources will be directed to leading international relief organizations operating in line with priorities set by the national governments, including CARE, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Lutheran World Relief.

This is a demonstration of the goodwill that can come from the global cocoa and chocolate industry in rallying to provide support to the farmers in cocoa producer countries​,” said Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board. “Some critical steps have already been taken to support cocoa communities in Ghana, however, working with industry, we will do whatever we can to ensure that the farmers have up-to-date information and the means to protect themselves and their families​.”

His counterpart in Côte d’Ivoire, Yves Brahima Koné, director-general of the Café-Cacao Council, said: “Since the arrival of Covid-19 in Côte d’Ivoire on March 11, we have seen the interest of the chocolate and cocoa industry to support the government’s actions to stop the spread of the virus and in particular to ensure that it does not reach  rural areas of our country. We are grateful to the chocolate and cocoa companies that have already made contributions and are carrying out activities against the pandemic. Today’s donation announced by WCF on behalf of its members and other associations in the sector reinforces the actions already taken individually. On behalf of the cocoa community of our country, I express to them our gratitude​.”

Crucial steps

Governments in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America are taking the critical steps to protect their citizens, but their health and social safety net systems need more support, said the WCF. Cocoa-growing communities are particularly at risk since they cannot easily access clean water, health care, and social safety nets.

Richard Scobey, president of the WCF, added: “All of us in the cocoa supply chain are connected, from the cocoa farmer to the chocolate maker. This fund-raising effort shows the cocoa and chocolate industry is united in our goal to help farmers and their families fight the virus and save lives in cocoa-growing communities around the world​.”

More than 30 companies and organizations from around the world contributed to this latest industry-wide response, including Altinmarka, the Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI), August Storck KG,  Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, Carletti, Cémoi, Clasen Quality Chocolate, CWT Europe B.V, ECOM, Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd., Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO),  GCB Cocoa, Guittard Chocolate, Intercontinental Exchange, JB Cocoa, Lindt & Sprüngli, Luker Chocolate, Mars Wrigley, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, Pit Süßwaren/Becks Cocoa, Ritter Sport, Seattle Chocolate, the Swiss Foundation of the Cocoa and Chocolate Industry, SUCDEN Cocoa, The Hershey Company, Touton S.A., Whittaker’s, and the WCF.

Many companies have already been working with their suppliers to support local relief efforts and help the governments contain the spread of the virus and save lives.

Close collaboration

The WCF said that for over a month most have been in close collaboration with governments and humanitarian relief organizations, companies are donating critical emergency supplies such as soap, sanitizers, clean water equipment, and medical goods.

Cocoa companies are also broadcasting the government’s healthcare messages through their farmer communication channels and farmer training platforms – and are distributing copies of government coronavirus posters and other information in rural communities.

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