Cocoa beans drying in West Africa.

Image provided by World Cocoa Foundation.

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and Denmark's Toms Foundation are joining forces to improve incomes, production levels, quality of life and technology for the world's five million-plus cocoa farmers.

Representatives from the chocolate and cocoa industry, cocoa-producing countries, development agencies, donor groups, non-governmental organizations and cocoa certifying bodies will gather on Oct. 15-16 in Copenhagen to discuss the efforts. Around 200 attendees are expected.

Sessions will cover the following topics: the importance of educational, gender equality and child labor reduction programming in cocoa-growing communities; new strategies for providing improved planting materials to cocoa farmersas well as plans for making fertilizers more readily available to farmers; updates on efforts to establish widely agreed upon standards for quality and sustainability; defining and measuring success in programs that support cocoa farmers; and recent innovations in technology and program implementation that can hasten improvements in the lives of cocoa farmers.

Toms is proud to enter the partnership with WCF, says Jesper Moeller, ceo of Toms Confectionery Group. “We look forward to welcoming the participants to Copenhagen in October and value the opportunity to share our experiences from Ghana in areas such as traceable cocoa, farmer training and primary school programs,” he says.

Bill Guyton, WCF president, says the collaboration was a natural choice because both groups share a commitment to helping cocoa farmers.

"We look forward to learning more from them, and from our friends in Denmark, about practical steps that can be taken to advance the sustainability agenda," Guyton says.

WCF is an international foundation with more than 110 companies from around the world that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy. It provides 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, representing more than 80 percent of the global cocoa market.

The Toms Group Foundation is the sole owner of Toms Confectionary Group, a midsized producer of chocolate and candy.  The foundation was established in 1974 and has production facilities in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Poland.