WCF programs benefit farm families and communities in cocoa-growing countries around the globe, including: Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas.
Cocoa is essential to the livelihoods of 40-50 million people worldwide, including over 5 million smallholder cocoa farmers who grow this valuable crop. It has been an important ingredient in global cultures and history, evolving over the years, and continues to be enjoyed today in thousands of different forms.
Important markets for chocolate products include the U.S., with approximately 68,450 jobs directly involved in the manufacture of confectionery and chocolate products; Europe, where more than 245,000 people are employed in the sector; and Japan, which is Asia's largest consumer of chocolate confectionery - chocolate accounts for 40% of the Japanese confectionery market.
Approximately 70% of the world’s cocoa currently comes from West and Central Africa. The vast majority of this cocoa is grown on nearly two million small, independent family farms that are less than 2 hectares (5 acres) in size.
African cocoa farmers and their families face a number of challenges: low yields, pests and diseases that attack their cocoa trees, difficulty obtaining farming supplies, and limited access to credit. Like other rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, cocoa-growing communities often have low levels of adult literacy, face health risks such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, and have difficulty with access to quality education for their children. WCF is empowering communities by training farmers, enhancing education, investing in families, and improving community health and welfare.
WCF works to address these issues in West and Central Africa through three flagship programs: WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program, WCF ECHOES, and the WCF African Cocoa Initiative. WCF supports active programming in the following countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Liberia.
Southeast Asia accounts for approximately 14% of the world’s cocoa supply. The region includes well-established cocoa producers such as Indonesia, the world’s third largest producer, and emerging producers such as Vietnam and the Philippines.
Areas of focus include: training farmers to better manage pests and disease, diversify crops for cash and consumption, improve pruning and shade management, and practice sound environmental stewardship; working with farmers to establish and strengthen farmer organizations, helping them better understand market needs and opportunities, acquire improved management and marketing skills, and collectively sell their cocoa at a higher price; improving cocoa quality by educating farmers on proper post-harvest handling techniques, training farmer organizations in quality control and supporting the development of quality standards; and furthering farmer access to quality planting material through the development of nurseries and budwood gardens.
Currently, WCF supports active programming in the following countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, and Vietnam.
Cocoa originated in the Amazon basin thousands of years ago and continues to play an important role in Brazil and the Andean region, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. The region accounts for 13% of global cocoa production and is known for fine flavor beans used in premium and single-origin chocolate products.
Major producing countries in the region include Brazil and Ecuador. In Latin America, the World Cocoa Foundation supports programs that build networks at the local, national and regional levels. At the local level, farmers are trained and encouraged to work together to conduct post-harvest handling, and farmer organizations are strengthened through training programs. At the national and regional levels, stakeholders come together to coordinate activities and address common issues such as disease management.
WCF supported recent programming in the following countries: Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, Peru, and Trinidad & Tobago.
The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, Global Cocoa Initiative, is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, and WCF.Learn More »
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WCF/ACI is a public-private partnership that will double productivity for 100,000 cocoa farm households through the strengthening of local & national institutions, and in doing so, raise farmer incomes by 150-200%.Learn More »
The WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program is working to double the income of approximately 200,000 smallholder, cocoa-growing households in West and Central Africa. The overall goal of the program is to increase farmer income while strengthening local service capacity.Learn More »
Building on WCF member-supported pilot education programs, ECHOES strengthens cocoa-growing communities by expanding opportunities for youth and young adults through livelihoods, literacy and basic education.Learn More »