At its semiannual Partnership Meeting & Roundtable Sessions here, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has announced increased funding and program support for cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire through the Cocoa Community Development Fund, valued at more than $1 million. WCF members supporting programs to be carried out by the fund include Archer Daniels Midland Cocoa; Cargill; Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., Mars, Incorporated; Noble Resources Cocoa Division; Petra Foods; and Royal Duyvis Wiener B.V.  More than 12,000 Ivorian cocoa farmers, families and communities will benefit from these programs over the next three years through no fewer than 10 Community Challenge Grants, 200 Family Support Scholarships, and two Cocoa Research Exchanges.

WCF President Bill Guyton said, “This new fund supports an even greater number of cocoa farmers and communities in Côte d’Ivoire. I am particularly excited about the increased resources dedicated to empowering women cocoa farmers, as they are a vital part of healthy, thriving cocoa households.”

The WCF Cocoa Community Development Fund builds on more than 10 years of investments that WCF has made in Côte d’Ivoire to support cocoa communities, rural cocoa farmers, women, and youth to improve their farming activities and standard of living.  These programs have a strong focus on supporting women cocoa farmers and correspond to the terms of an agreement with the Ivorian government that was signed by Guyton and Côte d’Ivoire First Lady Dominique Ouattara in Washington, D.C., on July 19, 2012.

Specific activities of the WCF Cocoa Community Development Fund include:

  • Community Challenge Grants encourage innovative, community-based, solutions to existing issues by challenging applicants to identify resources, services, or small infrastructure projects that strengthen and empower cocoa communities.
  • Cocoa Family Scholarships expand business opportunities for women in Côte d’Ivoire and encourage entrepreneurship. These scholarships are used to simultaneously support youth education and keep children in school while enhancing the mother’s income-generation potential.

The World Cocoa Foundation is the leading non-profit organization in cocoa sustainability worldwide and represents more than 80% of the global cocoa market.  For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.

Read the full press release here.