The delivery of the first UTZ Certified beans to a buying station in Chau Thanh district, Ben Tre province in Vietnam highlights another milestone in Cargill’s support of the chocolate industry there.  

“The delivery of the first UTZ Certified beans produced in Vietnam, from the first three certified cooperatives, is an important milestone in Vietnam’s development as a producer of high quality cocoa beans-and in particular of certified sustainable beans,” says Harold Poelma, managing director cocoa for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.  

The UTZ Certified beans are part of a cocoa program started by Cargill and Dutch development organization Solidaridad, which provided independent certification as a way to help improve agriculture, environmental and social practices in cocoa production.  

This milestone is just one of the many initiatives Cargill has developed to help build a more sustainable market in Vietnam.  

The company started developing the cocoa segment in Vietnam in 2004 to help the industry grow and produce high-quality, sustainable cocoa beans. Along with the Vietnamese and Dutch government and Mars Inc., Cargill aided the construction of seedling houses and buying stations to provide the cocoa farmers with easier access to the market. They also installed a farmer training program, which has successfully helped 12,000 farmers so far. Cargill’s hand in the Vietnam cocoa industry has helped raise the total cocoa crop from less than 20 metric tons per year to a projected 2,5000 metric tons by the end of 2011.  

“We are looking forward to the certification of more cooperatives in Vietnam, which will enable us to scale up the production of sustainable cocoa in the years ahead and increase the choice that we can offer out customers,” says Poelma.  

A ceremony commemorated the important event with dignitaries Nguyen Van Hoa, Vietnam’s Department of Crop Production’s vice director general, and Ngyun Van Thiet, UTZ Vietnam’s chief representative, in attendance.  

For more information visit www.cargill.com 

 -G.W.