ACDI/VOCA today presented its highest honor, the International Leadership Award, to the World Cocoa Foundation in Washington, D.C. , for its dedication to poverty reduction among smallholder cocoa farmers. The foundation’s Chairman Kip Walk, who is also director of the Cocoa Department at Blommer Chocolate, accepted the award saying, “The staff and members of the World Cocoa Foundation are deeply honored to receive this recognition from ACDI/VOCA.”
At a luncheon at the Phoenix Park Hotel, representatives from the cocoa industry and international economic development organizations heard Walk explain that the work we are doing together is more important than ever as cocoa farmers are under siege from diseases, pests and market challenges.
Walk said that experts are predicting a production deficit this year, which will mark the first time in history there has been a deficit for three years in a row. However, Mr. Walk was optimistic about the power of collaboration, “With the strength of all the partners represented here, I am convinced that we can address the challenges we face and help farmers meet the market demand.”
He noted the particular impact of ACDI/VOCA’s farmer training, saying, “After participating in ACDI/VOCA’s farmer field schools, farmers typically increase production three- or four-fold and income with it. The transformation is amazing.” He added, “With the extra money farmers can buy uniforms for their children and send them to school for first time.”
The World Cocoa Foundation, ACDI/VOCA, Mars, Inc., USAID and USDA teamed up eight years ago to form the SUCCESS Alliance and to launch a program in Indonesia that aimed to reduce poverty while ensuring a reliable supply of chocolate and protecting the environment. Today, the alliance, which now includes many local partners, operates in five countries on three continents and has trained more than 185,000 smallholder cocoa farmers. Production and profits are up, the use of pesticides is down, trees are being planted instead of cut down, and more and better chocolate is available to the world’s consumers.
ACDI/VOCA’s Managing Director of Specialty Crops Programs T.J. Ryan summed up the role of WCF: “We simply could not have impacted this many farmers without the World Cocoa Foundation. They came up with the original idea for the program and approached ACDI/VOCA to implement it, and over the years their support and that of their members, has provided invaluable expertise, resources and market linkages.”
For more information about the SUCCESS Alliance or the transformative power of cocoa, go to: www.acdivoca.org/eatchocolatesavetheworld.
A nonprofit international development organization based in Washington , ACDI/VOCA works in agribusiness systems, financial services, enterprise development and community development to promote broad-based economic growth and vibrant civil society. For 45 years and in 145 countries, ACDI/VOCA has empowered people to succeed in the global economy. ACDI/VOCA currently has approximately 90 projects in 40 countries.
For more information about the World Cocoa Foundation, go to: www.worldcocoafoundation.org
Pictured: ACDI/VOCA President Carl Leonard (left) and World Cocoa Foundation Chairman Kip Walk.
Photos available upon request.