The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has kicked off meetings in San Salvador to discuss issues related to fine flavor cocoa, cocoa quality and plant genetics.

The first of their kind in El Salvador, these meetings will help raise Latin American awareness on areas of growing interest for the cocoa and chocolate industries.

 “Fine flavor, quality and genetics are important and interlinked issues the cocoa and chocolate industry is facing,” says Bill Guyton, president, WCF. “We’re pleased to bring people together in El Salvador to collaborate on these important topics.”

Over the course of the meetings, scientists, industry experts, government representatives and NGOs in the region will gather to discuss market outlook, opportunities for development, the latest research, and the role of capacity building.

Later in the week, researchers will also discuss strategies for adapting cocoa production to climate change and addressing disease pressures.

“The development of new varieties of cocoa are an important topic of discussion for the sector in the face of potential impacts of climate change on cocoa and diseases," says Dr. Wilbert Phillips-Mora, program leader, CATIE Cacao Improvement. "Genetic diversity ensures future cocoa production and conservation of agro-systems and the livelihoods of thousands of farmers.”

The meetings, officially opened by El Salvador Minister of Agriculture Orestes Fredesman Ortez Andrade, will also feature speakers from Casa Luker, Ecom and Guittard.

 “Today, at this great event promoted by the WCF, we want to show how Casa Luker is adding value to the cocoa knowledge chain — agricultural and scientific — making it clear that this step will be very helpful for improving our sustainable and profitable model to our farmers keeping qualities of aroma and flavor in our products,” says Francisco Gomez, international business manager at Casa Luker and a member of WCF’s board of directors.