US firm to help boost local cacao production
Anggi M. Lubis
The Jakarta Post
Mondelez International, the world's biggest cacao consumer, launched on Thursday a 10-year 'Cocoa Life' program aimed at boosting cacao production and encouraging farmers to perform good agricultural practices.
For that program, the US-based confectionery conglomerate will disburse US$400 million to six producing countries, including Indonesia, the amount of which will be divided proportionally among the participating countries, said Andi Sitti Asmayanti, the cocoa development manager for Mondelez Southeast Asia.
'This is our unique responsibility as the world's biggest cacao consumer in the world. Indonesia is the world's third biggest cacao supplier. How much capital we will disburse will go along with that, as well as how many partners are willing to cooperate and how many programs will be carried out,' she said.
Mondelez International, which comprises snacks and food brands of the former Kraft Foods, plans to conduct training for 50,000 local cacao farmers in Papua, Sumatra and Sulawesi to practice sustainable agriculture, to enhance harvest quality and to increase yields amid stagnating land expansion for cacao cultivation.
A similar program has been carried out for 20,000 farmers in Ghana, 10,000 farmers in Dominica and 60,000 farmers in India. Other participating countries are Brazil and Ivory Coast.
Mondelez, which produces globally renowned brands such as Oreo, Cadbury, Jacobs and Nabisco, purchased 20,000 tons of Fairtrade certified cacao and 15,000 tons of Rainforest Alliance certified cacao in 2011.
Agriculture Ministry plantation director general Gamal Nasir said the government applauded the initiative.
'Consuming countries demand sustainable and good quality cacao. The program is in line with the government's Gernas Kakao, [Cacao National Movement] which aims to rehabilitate cacao plants and intensify existing land,' he said.
Indonesia produced 936,266 tons of cacao last year, or a 31.46 percent increase compared to 2011, according to data from the Agriculture Ministry.
Production, however, slumped by 15 percent in 2011 from a previous level of 837,918 tons in 2010.
In 2008-2010, production only saw around a 2 percent annual increase.
In 2012, the government issued a regulation encouraging exports of fermented cacao and, at the
same time, limiting the export of raw cacao.
Following the issuance of this regulation, the country started to see increasing local processing capacity and investment.
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