More than 300 representatives from industry, government, development organizations, and research institutes in 32 countries around the globe are gathered in Washington today under the auspices of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) to address the most pressing issues in efforts to promote a sustainable cocoa economy.
WCF's two-day Partnership Meeting opened yesterday with participants from Europe, Asia, Africa and The Americas, all focused on common goals in cocoa sustainability. In keynote addresses, Frank Mars, Global Segment President and member of the Global Corporate Management Team, Mars Incorporated, and Sam Dryden, Director of Agricultural Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, both stressed the importance of key stakeholders working together to achieve a sustainable cocoa economy and assure a more promising future for cocoa farmers and their families.
WCF President Bill Guyton also focused on the importance of such partnerships. He said, 'We are confident that the World Cocoa Foundation's work over the last decade has led to higher incomes for cocoa farmers, geographic diversity of supply and greater sustainability for the cocoa sector overall. But we recognize that our work has just begun and we still face great challenges in empowering cocoa farmers and improving and enhancing the global cocoa supply. We look forward to joining with our global network of members, funders, and partners as we look to the future and enter our next decade of work.' Guyton's remarks also included announcement of a new WCF partnership with the Peace Corps that will engage Peace Corps Volunteers in WCF projects.
Wednesday's program also included sessions focusing on the achievements of the World Cocoa Foundation's Challenge Grants Program since 2008, among them a manual and other materials developed to train farmers on the reproductive biology of cocoa. A panel discussion on Cocoa and the Green Revolution focused on challenges and opportunities for advancing the scientific and technological frontier for cocoa.
The program continues today with sessions focused on emerging markets and producing regions for cocoa and programs to address child labor, and roundtables on the cocoa supply chain, diversification, food security, and the environment, and research. The program concludes with a discussion centered on 'Envisioning the Future: the Cocoa Sector in Ten Years.'
WCF also announced today that its 2011 Partnership Meetings will be held in San Francisco, California in May and Accra, Ghana in October.
About the World Cocoa Foundation
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. These efforts help increase the supply of cocoa and help guarantee chocolate lovers access to their favorite products. WCF's membership includes more than 70 cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide. Member companies range in size from small and medium size firms to large international corporations and represent over 80% of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.