The Hershey Co. and cocoa supplier Agroindustrias Unidas de Cacao SA de CV (AMCO), a member of the Ecom Cocoa Group, have launched the Mexico Cocoa Project, a 10-year, $2.8 million initiative to reintroduce cocoa growing in southern Mexico and help restore the country’s down-trodden cocoa farming industry.
For years, Mexico’s cocoa crop has been nearly decimated, largely by moniliasis, also known as frosty pod rot, a disease that attacks the fruit of the cacao tree, causing its cocoa beans to become unusable. The new program should improve the livelihoods of more than 1,000 cocoa farmers and their families in the short-term and put in place the foundation to improve the livelihoods of many more cocoa farmers and their families in the near future.
During the next decade, Hershey and Ecom Cocoa Group will provide training in farm renovation and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and distribute disease-tolerant cocoa trees to renew 1,000 hectares of farmland. The program intends to quadruple family incomes and contribute to the worldwide supply of sustainable cocoa.
The project is one of Hershey’s numerous cocoa sustainability programs around the world and part of the company’s deep commitment to corporate social responsibility and the environment. The program also addresses an ongoing concern of the cocoa industry, which is supporting the long-term sustainability of the world’s cocoa supply, while contributing to cocoa sustainability for Mexico.