WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2013 – The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and chocolate maker TCHO are collaborating to introduce innovations and quality improvements to cocoa grown in Ghana. This will take the form of a “Flavor Lab” located at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and on-farm extension work. The project’s goal is to demonstrate to farmers the direct link between quality at the farm level and increased value for their products.

The Flavor Lab will include a sensory panel that will be trained in objective flavor evaluation, an invaluable tool for commercialization and research based on flavor characteristics. Farmers will learn by tasting chocolate from their own beans, usually for the first time, how product quality depends on good fermentation and drying methods.

Bill Guyton, WCF president said, “We are proud to partner with TCHO to bring this innovative program to Ghana.  We’ll build upon Ghana’s strong cocoa culture, by improving flavor and value, and will be able to reinvest increased quality back into cocoa communities.”

“TCHO is honored to partner with the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana and the World Cocoa Foundation to help make a difference for cocoa farmers in West Africa” said John Kehoe, Vice President, Sourcing and Development for TCHO.

“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as the U.S. Government agency leading President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, is proud to be a part of this kind of public-private partnership, which uses cutting-edge technology and the power of markets to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in Ghana,” said Paul Weisenfeld, Assistant to the Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security.

The project will work with approximately 7,000 farmers throughout Ghana’s cocoa producing region and contributes to the goals WCF’s African Cocoa Initiative, a $14 million, 5-year partnership between WCF, cocoa industry members, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), and the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Initiative. Ultimately, the ACI aims to double cocoa productivity and train over 100,000 farmers though fostering public-private cooperative investments in cocoa and agriculture, improving the genetic quality and productivity of cocoa varieties under cultivation, expanding farmer education, and improving the agriculture input supply chains that serve the farmers. 

About WCF 

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership foundation that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits. WCF’s membership includes cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80% of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.

About TCHO

TCHO is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation.  Located in San Francisco, TCHO is a modern, premium-quality chocolate maker committed not only to making the best chocolate possible, but, also, to making a better world through their TCHO Source programs.

About Feed the Future

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future is establishing a foundation for lasting progress against global hunger by supporting countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and under nutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Learn more by visiting www.feedthefuture.gov.

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Download the full press release here.