The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and Côte d’Ivoire’s Conseil du Café-Cacao have announced an agreement to improve cocoa planting material.
The agreement is closely aligned with the Ivorian government’s 2QC national cocoa strategy and comes less than a year after WCF announced CocoaAction, the chocolate and cocoa industry’s strategy for sustainability in the cocoa sector.
As part of its efforts to improve planting material, WCF also announced its focus on new methods of propagation and addressing cocoa swollen shoot virus. These components are championed by WCF member companies Mars, Inc. and Nestlé.
“WCF is pleased to be working with le Conseil du Café-Cacao to provide improved planting material to cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire,” says WCF President, Bill Guyton. “CocoaAction supports the rehabilitation of cocoa farms to improve farmer livelihoods, and this partnership is a key step toward making that possible.”
To support the execution of the planting material strategy, WCF recently employed an Abidjan-based Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus expert, Dr. Mfegue Crescence Virginie.
Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus is a disease that causes insufficient production of chlorophyll in cocoa trees, eventually resulting in death.
Working in close coordination with le Conseil du Café-Cacao, Interprofessional Fund for Agricultural Research and Advisory Services (FIRCA) and the National Center for Agronomic Research (CNRA), Dr. Mfegue will support the identification and propagation of virus-resistant trees and developing in-field tests that allow for early detection of the disease.
Selected to participate in the Norman E. Borlaug Cocoa Fellowship program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service and WCF, Kacou M’Bo of Côte d’Ivoire’s National Center for Agronomic Research is expected to provide research support on drought resistant varieties of cocoa trees.
The fellowship provides fellows with skills and knowledge to help their countries become more competitive producers and exporters of cocoa and cocoa products.
In support of CocoaAction’s productivity component, WCF also announced the completion of a good agriculture practices guide that includes information on fertilizer use and soil fertility practices in Côte d’Ivoire.
The guide, developed in partnership with the national agency supporting rural development (ANADER), Conseil du Café-Cacao, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and WCF’s African Cocoa Initiative, will be used by public and private sector partners for training activities with cocoa farmers. The African Cocoa Initiative is a program supported by WCF member companies and the United States Agency for International Development.