Tuesday 23 July 2024
  • La Cimbali

Hershey makes record payments to Ivorian cocoa farmers through its income accelerator program

The deployment of this large-scale program began in April 2023 in Abidjan, the heart of Ivory Coast's economic capital. With a total budget of $40 million (about 24 billion CFA francs), it has already positively impacted more than 1,800 households in three key production areas: Duékoué, Guiberoua, and Bonon

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ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – Hershey, the American chocolate giant, has reached a major milestone in its quest for more sustainable and equitable cocoa supply chains. The company has announced incentive payments to over 1,400 farmers as part of its flagship “Income Accelerator program”, an innovative five-year initiative aimed at radically transforming the living conditions of cocoa farmers.

In orange, is the farmers Lougue Noël, farmers at Tiemensson from coops Allah Kabo. The coach is Thierry Kouassi from Rainforest

A massive commitment to Ivorian farming communities

The deployment of this large-scale program began in April 2023 in Abidjan, the heart of Ivory Coast’s economic capital. With a total budget of $40 million (about 24 billion CFA francs), it has already positively impacted more than 1,800 households in three key production areas: Duékoué, Guiberoua, and Bonon.

The official launch ceremony held on April 24, 2023, brought together high-ranking personalities, including Koné Brahima Yves, Director General of the Coffee-Cocoa Council, and Jason Reiman, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Hershey.

“The Income Accelerator represents a decisive turning point in our long-term commitment to sustainably transform the lives of cocoa farmers and their children,” said Jason Reiman. “By directly paying incentives to farmers, we are creating a virtuous circle that stimulates productivity, improves incomes, and strengthens community resilience.”

This initiative has been enthusiastically received by Ivorian authorities. Koné Brahima Yves emphasized the importance of such partnerships: “I thank you for the collaboration between partners and assure you that whenever there are projects aimed at improving the decent income of producers, the Coffee-Cocoa Council will support you. We are together to make this program successful because improving the income of cocoa-producing households in Côte d’Ivoire has always been our fight.”

Through the participation of the Coffee-Cocoa Council in the Steering Committee, the project ensures its alignment with the Ivorian Government’s National Strategy for Sustainable Cocoa (SNCD), which prioritizes improving cocoa farmers’ incomes.

A comprehensive action plan for multiplied incomes

To break the vicious cycle of poverty among producers, Hershey is banking on a 360° approach aimed at removing all barriers to economic development:

  • In-depth agricultural diagnosis (21 criteria) for resilient and sustainable production
  • Co-construction of tailor-made business plans with agronomic experts
  • Dedicated training in financial management, entrepreneurship, and skills development
  • Support for village savings and credit associations (200 strengthened, 350 new ones created)
  • Extensive reforestation and agroforestry program to regenerate terroirs
  • Incentive cash transfers of $100 to $600 (60,000 to 365,000 CFA francs) to reward achievement of objectives.

Empowering communities for sustainable impact

Beyond field support, Hershey places farmers at the heart of the dynamic. A Learning Advisory Committee under the aegis of the Coffee-Cocoa Council has been set up to strengthen public-private dialogue.

Siméon Oulaï, a cocoa farmer in Duékoué, shares his enthusiasm: “The first payment received in March was a very pleasant surprise! I quickly reinvested this unexpected windfall in my plantation. But this program goes far beyond the financial aspect – the training gives us the keys to boost our production while preserving our environment.”

Thierry Kouassi, group administrator at the Allah Kabo cooperative in Duékoué, highlights the program’s ripple effect: “The excitement is palpable! Even initially reluctant producers are now knocking on our door, impressed by the concrete results. The extension of the project to more producers from 2025 is excellent news for our entire community.”

This initiative illustrates Hershey’s ongoing commitment to ethical supply chains and shared prosperity for the communities that feed the world.

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