World confectionery bodies and companies join together supporting cocoa communities affected by coronavirus

A total of 30 companies and organisations including global confectionery groups have joined together to donate $835,000 for cocoa farmers during the coronavirus pandemic through supporting government emergency plans in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The combined initiative has been co-ordinated by Caobisco, the chocolate, biscuit and confectionery industries of Europe, German confectionery association BDSI, the European Cocoa Association (ECA), the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC) and the World Cocoa Foundation.

According to the combined group, the majority of the funds will be donated to Ivory Coast and Ghana, which represent two thirds of the cocoa sector. It will also support health efforts in other major origin countries, including Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador and Indonesia.

Funding from this combined donation  is in addition to numerous individual business contributions towards tackling the global outbreak of covid-19, which observers have highlighted as having potentially devastating effects within less developed communities that have more limited access to health facilities.

Among those participating in the latest venture are cocoa firm Altinmarka, the Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI), August Storck KG, Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, Carletti, Cémoi, Clasen Quality Chocolate, CWT Europe B.V, ECOM, Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd., Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO), GCB Cocoa, Guittard Chocolate, Intercontinental Exchange, JB Cocoa, Lindt & Sprüngli, Luker Chocolate, Mars Wrigley, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, Pit Süßwaren/Becks Cocoa, Ritter Sport, Seattle Chocolate, the Swiss Foundation of the Cocoa and Chocolate Industry, SUCDEN Cocoa, The Hershey Company, Touton S.A., Whittaker’s, and WCF.

The resources will be directed to leading international relief organisations operating in line with priorities set by the national governments, including CARE, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Lutheran World Relief.

“This is a demonstration of the goodwill that can come from the global cocoa and chocolate industry in rallying to provide support to the farmers in cocoa producer countries,” said Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board. “Some critical steps have already been taken to support cocoa communities in Ghana, however, working with industry, we will do whatever we can to ensure that the farmers have up-to-date information and the means to protect themselves and their families.”

According to Yves Brahima Koné, Director-General of the Café-Cacao Council: “Since the arrival of Covid-19 in Côte d’Ivoire on March 11, we have seen the interest of the chocolate and cocoa industry to support the government’s actions to stop the spread of the virus and in particular to ensure that it does not reach rural areas of our country. We are grateful to the chocolate and cocoa companies that have already made contributions and are carrying out activities against the pandemic. Today’s donation announced by WCF on behalf of its members and other associations in the sector reinforces the actions already taken individually. On behalf of the cocoa community of our country, I express to them our gratitude.”

“All of us in the cocoa supply chain are connected, from the cocoa farmer to the chocolate maker. This fund-raising effort shows the cocoa and chocolate industry is united in our goal to help farmers and their families fight the virus and save lives in cocoa-growing communities around the world,” said Richard Scobey, President of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).

Governments in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America are taking the critical steps to protect their citizens, but their health and social safety net systems need more support. Cocoa-growing communities are particularly at risk since they cannot easily access clean water, health care, and social safety nets.

The global fund-raising effort by companies comes on top of other efforts to fight the virus by the industry. Many of the large cocoa and chocolate companies are making major financial contributions to international relief and humanitarian organisations. These commitments already total hundreds of millions of dollars and are supporting the emergency response around the world.

Many companies have been working for more than a month now with their suppliers to support local relief efforts and help the governments contain the spread of the virus and save lives. In close collaboration with governments and humanitarian relief organisations, companies are donating critical emergency supplies such as soap, sanitizers, clean water equipment, and medical goods. They are broadcasting the government’s health care messages through their farmer communication channels and farmer training platforms. They are distributing copies of government coronavirus posters and other information in rural communities.

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