Archer Daniels Midland Co. will donate more than $576,000 to Opportunities Industrialization Centers International to fund bridge and well construction projects in 24 villages throughout Côte d’Ivoire. The projects, to be completed by OIC International over a two-year period, include the construction of 16 clean water wells and eight small bridges with culverts.

“Working with OIC International to fund these crucial infrastructure projects is another example of ADM’s commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities,” says David Loué, sustainable development manager for ADM Cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire. “Construction of the clean water wells and bridges will lead to better health and more reliable infrastructure, resulting in improved farm incomes for 120,000 people in these communities, including 18,000 cocoa farmers who provide ADM Cocoa with approximately 18,000 metric tons of cocoa beans per year.” 

The 16 wells will be installed in rural communities throughout Côte d’Ivoire to make clean water more readily available and to help reduce the incidence of waterborne infectious diseases. The wells will also lessen the burden on women who typically must travel long distances to obtain water for their families. Eight wells will be constructed in 2010 with the remaining eight completed in 2011. 

Eight bridges will be built near rural cocoa communities to facilitate travel between villages. Six bridges will be constructed in 2010 with the remaining two completed in 2011. These bridges will also improve the cocoa bean collection and transportation processes, helping to broaden the marketing opportunities for cocoa farmers.  

“Over the long term, the bridges and wells constructed through this program will also help to increase school enrollment rates for children in these areas,” says Loué. “Bridges will make it safer and easier for young children to travel to school, and ready access to clean water will improve the overall health of children in the area. The potential for increased farm incomes will also allow more families to afford to send their children to school.”