One-third of the HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW participants are women, a high percentage for programs of this kind. (Photo: Business Wire)
1,465 Trained Farmers Now Growing UTZ Certified Cocoa
33 Percent of Program Farmers are Women
Launching Phase II to Expand Program to 21,000 Farmers
GPS Farm Mapping and CocoaLink Mobile Phone Programs Improve Farmer Yields
The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced today that 18 months after launching its innovative HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW program in Ghana to help increase the incomes and improve living standards for more than 1,400 cocoa farm families, the program has delivered significant results for farmers, families and the cocoa sector in the region. Hershey also announced that it is expanding its HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW program by launching Phase II, which extends the program to all of Ghana’s cocoa-growing regions. This will increase the number of participating farmers from its current 1,465 to more than 21,000 across Ghana. Expanding Ghana’s Certified Cocoa Supply A highlight of the program’s first results report is that all 1,465 participating farmers in Ghana’s Assin Fosu region passed their first year UTZ audit and are now growing UTZ certified cocoa, adding additional third-party certified cocoa volume to the region’s cocoa supply. Hershey previously committed to using 100 percent certified cocoa in its products worldwide by 2020. In 2013, 18 percent of the cocoa Hershey purchased globally was certified, nearly double its original goal of 10 percent for the year. The company plans to increase to between 40 and 50 percent by 2016 on its path to 100 percent by 2020. “The HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW program has exceeded our expectations and shown how a package of training programs, including business knowledge and good agricultural practices, can meaningfully change the lives of cocoa farmers, their families and their communities,” said Terence O’Day, Senior Vice President, Chief Supply Chain Officer at The Hershey Company. “The program has proven we can substantially improve productivity, family incomes and labor practices while increasing cocoa quality. We are pleased to be working with our partner in Ghana – Source Trust – to expand Learn to Grow to 20,000 more farmers who will all benefit from the training that has proven so successful in Phase I.” Learn to Grow farmers are also enrolling in the CocoaLink mobile phone learning program sponsored by Hershey. CocoaLink provides farmers with weekly text and voice messages on farm modernization as well as information about health, safety and labor. CocoaLink has enrolled more than 45,000 Ghana cocoa farmers since mid-2011.