Food Market brings news, talk and insight into the food business, from farms to supermarkets to restaurants. Reporters Mike Hughlett and Tom Meersman delve into the work of Minnesota’s food companies and issues such as food safety and labeling.

Cargill's efforts to improve cocoa conditions

Posted by: Mike Hughlett Updated: June 5, 2014 - 1:50 PM

Cargill says it has trained over 115,000 cocoa farmers in good agricultural practices, and established over 2,550 “Farmer Field Schools.”

That’s the word Thursday from Cargill’s first “global progress report” on developing a sustainable global cocoa supply chain. Included in that goal is remedying child labor abuses, which have long plagued the cocoa industry.

Cargill has said fighting child labor involves making cocoa farming more productive, along with convincing farmers they’re better off educating their kids.  Minnetonka-based Cargill is a cocoa industry giant, buying raw beans and processing them, including making chocolate.

The farmer training undertaken by Cargill has been done in the world’s prime cocoa growing countries, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Indonesia, Brazil and Vietnam.

In addition to field schools, Cargill has established a Coop Academy in Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producer. Cargill calls it a unique program to provide farmer coop leaders with skills to better grow their businesses.

Also, $25 million in “certification premiums” has been paid to cocoa farmer coops, Cargill said. The certification is for sustainable cocoa production under UTZ, Fairtrade International and Rainforest Alliance standards.

Cargill also said education access has been improved for over 34,000 children in cocoa-growing communities, through building schools, providing books and training teachers.


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