World Cocoa conference to raise key industry issues

Key decision makers from around the world are to gather in Berlin in April to discuss the most important industry issues in cocoa and chocolate at the biennial World Cocoa Conference.

The event, scheduled for 22-25 April at the Maritim Hotel Berlin, is organised by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) – will address urgent matters including the problems of smallholder cocoa farmers hit by longstanding low prices for the commodity, among many other significant developments.

Among areas for discussion at this fourth edition of the conference are topics exploring production, trade, consumption and the sustainability of the whole sector.

There will be a series of world experts joining with representatives of producer and consumer country governments, the trade, chocolate industry and civil society in an interactive mix of presentations, discussions and networking that will involve stakeholders from 60 countries.

Hosted by the government of the German Federal Republic, the conference is to be opened by a group of senior government ministers and officials from the world’s major cocoa producing and cocoa consuming nations.

It will include plenary sessions addressed by senior executives of the largest multinational chocolate companies, including Mars Wrigley, Ritter Sport and Barry Callebaut. An innovative day of breakout sessions will take deep dives into some viable solutions for the complex problems of the cocoa sector, involving everyone from senior academics and representatives of development bodies to the crucial cocoa farmers themselves, hailing from the most significant origins all over the globe.

In total, over a hundred moderators, presenters and panelists will bring varied approaches to tackling these most difficult issues, and new technology at the conference will bring the various stakeholders together to become the most inclusive and representative event in cocoa. In another part of the conference, the role of women in cocoa and chocolate will be highlighted in a special forum organised in conjunction with NGO Solidaridad.

The fine and flavour cocoa sector will also be the subject of a day-long ancillary event, arranged with the help of the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting, and will look at the increasing share of the single origin cocoa segment, as well as developments in the market for the high value speciality chocolate products that use these exemplary cocoas.

The wide-ranging conference – accompanied by an exhibition showcasing some of the major suppliers to the sector and institutions involved in assisting its development worldwide – once again will serve as a gathering place for the cocoa world for four days in April. The conference will immediately precede the International Cocoa Council’s meeting of member countries of the ICCO. For updated information on the fourth World Cocoa Conference, including the latest programme and details on how to attend, please visit: www.worldcocoaconference.org

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