Entry: Bill Guyton, World Cocoa Foundation
Yesterday I had the privilege to introduce Michael Scuse, USDA Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services during a Corporate Council on Africa Agribusiness Meeting in Washington, DC. The event was attended by approximately 200 participants from the US government and private sector, including WCF members Wesley Wilson of Mars Incorporated and Beth Holzman of ADM Cocoa. In his remarks, Under Secretary Scuse specifically mentioned the work of the World Cocoa Foundation, our member companies and NGO partner ACDI/VOCA. Here is a passage from his speech:
“In Liberia, a Food for Progress program improved cocoa cultivation, production, and marketing through a partnership of USDA, the World Cocoa Foundation, and the PVO, Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA). In addition, the PVO coordinated its advocacy with other stakeholders in the cocoa supply chain. As a result, the Government of Liberia established cocoa quality standards, an internationally recognized grading system, and permitted legally registered farmers’ associations to sell their cocoa directly to exporters beginning last year. This helped substantially raise cocoa farmers’ incomes.
In 2009, the U.S. confectionery and chocolate industry employed more than 70,000 people in over a thousand manufacturing facilities. At these facilities, chocolate and confectionery products are made from imported raw cocoa beans and processed cocoa products. This demonstrates how the work of PVOs at the farmer level in Africa ripples along the supply chain. Their efforts move from farmers to cooperatives to traders and exporters to international corporations and, ultimately, to consumers all over the world.”