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Barry Callebaut Establishing First Center of Cocoa Excellence in West Africa

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Barry Callebaut Establishing First Center of Cocoa Excellence in West Africa

Barry Callebaut Establishing First Center of Cocoa Excellence in West Africa
July 03
07:46 2012

Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, is establishing a SFr1 million (Eur0.83 million) Center of Cocoa Excellence to promote advanced agricultural techniques in Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producing country. The Center will include training facilities for farmers and a 30-hectare ‘showcase farm’ to demonstrate state-of-the-art intercropping techniques and other yield enhancement practices such as grafting to rejuvenate aging cocoa farms and double farm productivity.

The Center of Cocoa Excellence will be situated in Pacobo in the Department of Tiassale in the south-central cocoa growing area of Cote d’Ivoire. A cornerstone of Barry Callebaut’s ‘Cocoa Horizons’ global sustainability initiative, the Center is scheduled to be operational from October 2012.

The ‘showcase farm’ will comprise about 30 hectares, ten of which will be planted this year starting in June. Barry Callebaut will use the farm to test different approaches for growing cocoa with other crops. The company is building on its prior experience with intercropping of compatible plants to improve productivity and biodiversity. Since 2010 Barry Callebaut has supported a local project in the region to demonstrate optimal methods of intercropping cocoa, banana and rubber with the goal of improving yields per hectare.

Some of the crops that will be planted alongside cocoa trees on the ‘showcase farm’ include: plantain, coconut, mango, pineapple, beans and maize, as well as rubber and others. Shade trees will also be planted.

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