10 July 2013

Barry Callebaut Inaugurates New Cocoa Center of Excellence in Côte d’Ivoire

Pacobo/Côte d’Ivoire, Zurich/Switzerland - 10 July 2013 – Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, has inaugurated its new Cocoa Center of Excellence to promote advanced agricultural techniques in Côte d’Ivoire, the world's largest cocoa producing country. To date Barry Callebaut has invested approximately CHF 1 million (EUR 800,000 / USD 1.1 million) in the Center which includes training facilities for farmers and a 30-hectare “showcase farm” to demonstrate state-of-the-art intercropping techniques and yield enhancement practices to increase farm productivity.

We appreciate and commend the efforts of Barry Callebaut to contribute to ensuring the sustainability of the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire through the establishment of this new Cocoa Center of Excellence which will serve as a valuable source of knowledge and an important training facility for thousands of cocoa farmers and farmer organizations in the region,” said Kouassi Bredoumi Soumaîla Traoré, General Director of Food Security, representing the Minister of Agriculture of Cote d'Ivoire.

The new Cocoa Center of Excellence is located in Pacobo in the Department of Tiassalé in the south-central cocoa growing area of Côte d’Ivoire. It comprises both field and classroom training facilities, separate nurseries to produce cocoa plants and shade trees, as well as fermentation and drying facilities to demonstrate proper post-harvest management practices.

Barry Callebaut will begin training programs for farmer trainers as well as managers and administrators from cooperatives and other farmer organizations in July 2013. Barry Callebaut initially plans to train about 300 trainers and managers per year at the Cocoa Center of Excellence.

The “showcase farm” is also being used to demonstrate the appropriate use of shade trees to protect young cocoa plants on smallholder farms. In the past year, sections of the farm have been planted to test approaches for growing cocoa with other crops including plantain, coconut, mango, pineapple, beans and maize, as well as rubber. Barry Callebaut is building on its prior experience with intercropping of compatible plants to improve productivity and biodiversity. 

The Center will be affiliated with other Barry Callebaut training facilities to be constructed in Côte d’Ivoire in the next 12 months. These facilities, called Barry Callebaut Farmer Academies, will be located in rural communities to serve as training centers or hubs for farmers in more remote communities. 

The new Cocoa Center of Excellence is a cornerstone of Barry Callebaut’s global Cocoa Horizons sustainability initiative launched in March 2012. 

With annual sales of about CHF 4.8 billion (EUR 4.0 billion / USD 5.2 billion) in fiscal year 2011/12, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products. Barry Callebaut runs around 50 production facilities worldwide, sells its products in over 100 countries and employs a diverse and dedicated workforce of more than 8,000 people.

Source: Barry Callebaut