East Greenville, Pa.-based Blommer Chocolate, North America’s largest processor of cocoa beans and ingredient chocolate products, today announced a new $3-million cocoa sustainability partnership supporting farmers in the Ivory Coast. The joint venture, called the Processors Alliance for Cocoa Traceability and Sustainability (PACTS), is being developed in conjunction with Cemoi Chocolatier of France and Petra Foods of Southeast Asia.

The PACTS mission is to improve the supply of high quality, fermented cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast while improving the livelihoods of the local cocoa farming community. The program was introduced today at the World Cocoa Foundation meeting in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The PACTS program trains farmers in modern techniques and provides them with skills to improve crop yield and quality, and to give them a better understanding of the marketplace. The program focuses on the establishment of fermentation centers that help the farmer improve post-harvest processing and improve bean quality. The fermentation centers also act as a hub from which farmers can improve their agronomy skills and understanding, with a goal of increasing crop yields and, ultimately, farmer incomes.

Over a three-year period, the joint venture will establish up to 30 fermentation centers that will support approximately 10,000 farmers. It is expected that the program will expand as the cocoa farming community reaps the benefits of better prices and consistent, high-quality crops. The Ivory Coast is the largest cocoa producing country in the world and approximately 90 percent of its cocoa is grown on small family farms.

For more information about Blommer, visitwww.blommer.com.