The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) from 13 – 17 November 2017 brought together the global cocoa research community for its first International Symposium on Cocoa Research (ISCR 2017) in Lima, Peru.
The Symposium, jointly organized with the Government of Peru, had long been awaited, as the last edition of this type of event was held over five years ago and several relevant developments had been recorded in the cocoa sector and required wide dissemination within the scientific research community and beyond it.
The Government of Peru, a country with a rich history and strong tradition of growing fine and flavour cocoa, welcomed all participants with gracious hospitality, creating an environment for fruitful discussions and networking.
The symposium gathered about 500 participants from 37 countries.
The main theme of ISCR 2017 was “Promoting Advances in Research to Enhance the Profitability of Cocoa Farming”. This overall theme and the seven thematic areas formed the main focus of ten keynote presentations, some ninety 90 oral presentations, and 100 poster presentations at the Symposium.
After four days of deliberations, the cocoa research community agreed on a set of key recommendations to accelerate the pace of development in the global cocoa sector, in particular as relevant to cocoa research. Climate change adaptation and mitigation, food safety and cadmium in particular were identified as major growing concerns for the cocoa sector that needed to be addressed urgently.
Generally, the Symposium emphasized the need to have more innovative platforms to better share information on cocoa research, and to make the results of that research easily accessible to all cocoa stakeholders, and particularly to cocoa farmers, who should be the main focus and recipients of these results.
A key innovation that distinguished the Symposium from previous cocoa research conferences was the introduction of a theme on socio-economic and market-related issues, which generated lively discussions with respect to technology adoption and transfer, and allowed the cocoa research community to gain important insights into the socio-economic impact of its research.
The Symposium was officially closed on Thursday 17 November 2017 by His Excellency Mr. Jose Manuel Hernandez, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. The proceedings of the symposium will be published very shortly.
ICCO Executive Director Dr Jean-Marc Anga gave an undertaking that his Organization would ensure that cocoa scientists would never again be deprived of such a global platform to share their knowledge. He confirmed the commitment of the ICCO to organize subsequent editions of the Symposium and stated that the date and venue of the next International Symposium on Cocoa Research would be announced very soon, after consultations with relevant stakeholders and ICCO Member states.