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Summit to bring together farmers, researchers, industry and government to improve livelihoods of small-scale cocoa farmers
100,000 disease-resistant trees to be distributed to restore cocoa farms
Program goal: restore cocoa growing in the ancient birthplace of domestic cocoa
A little more than a year after announcing an innovative initiative to restore Mexico’s beleaguered cocoa farming industry, The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) and cocoa supplier Agroindustrias Unidas de Cacao SA de CV (AMCO) are hosting a Cocoa Summit to bring together a wide range of stakeholders committed to saving Mexico’s cocoa industry.
The July 13 summit in Tapachula, Chiapas, marks the next phase of “The Mexico Cocoa Project.” The 10-year, $2.8 million initiative will provide training in farm renovation and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) along with the distribution of hundreds of thousands of disease-tolerant cocoa trees to restore more than 1,000 hectares of cocoa farmland in the Chiapas region of Southern Mexico that have been devastated by tree disease. The effort intends to quadruple yields, substantially increase family incomes and contribute to the worldwide supply of sustainable cocoa.
“The summit will be an important means to reach out to the various stakeholders who are critical to bringing back cocoa farming in Mexico and supporting the family cocoa farmers,” said Hector de la Barreda, Vice President and General Manager for Hershey Mexico and Central America. “From farmers to producers to government and research institutes, this symposium on cocoa will bring together the right people to begin the process of replanting and restoring cocoa farming in the same area where the ancient Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs first cultivated cocoa as a food.”
The Cocoa Summit is a key milestone for the decade-long project which began in the summer of 2012. Hershey and AMCO are hosting cocoa farmers and their families from the Chiapas region of Mexico at a forum for sharing information about cocoa-growing best practices, success stories and testimonies that create the foundations for success restoring sustainable cocoa farming in the region for the long term.