Cargill has expanded its farmer training program to Cameroon, after having success in Cote d’Ivoire.

The company says the program in Cote d’Ivoire has resulted in average yield improvements of nearly 50%, a 30% reduction in major pest problems and quality improvements in bean fermentation.

“These results convince us that we are following the right strategy in Cote d’Ivoire,” says Harold Poelma, managing director of cocoa for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “And, we will now adopt this successful policy in other cocoa growing countries where we feel we can make a real difference.”

Cargill - the largest exporter of cocoa beans from both Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon - has built up an extensive network and presence on the ground in Cameroon, comparable to the one in Cote d’Ivoire. It includes a rural buying station and a warehouse facility.

The farmer training in Cameroon will be delivered in partnership with Telcar, Cargill’s join venture partner in Cameroon. It is being launched in conjunction with the World Cocoa Foundation and Socodevi, a Canadian-based network of cooperative businesses that supports farmer organization initiatives in the developing world.

The program will help with the creation of a sustainable cocoa supply chain in the country, with the goal of achieving UTZ certification for cooperatives in 2012.

The training aims to increase famers’ incomes and support the future growth of cocoa farming by increasing yields and improving quality. It also is meant to strengthen the governance of cooperatives and farmers’ organizations and help build partnership between these organizations and their communities.

“In short, the training is directly benefiting farmers today and supports them in becoming successful entrepreneurs for the longer term,” Polema says.

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