Cargill opens business skills program for cocoa farmers

by Eric Schroeder
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ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST — Cargill has launched the Cargill Coop Academy, which the company describes as the first business skills program for cocoa farmer cooperative executives in the Ivory Coast. The program is the latest initiative under the Cargill Cocoa Promise and provides cooperative leaders with the management skills to make their organizations more professional, efficient and successful, Cargill said.

The Cargill Coop Academy provides cooperative managers with 28 days of training, followed by a year of personalized and on-the-ground coaching. The program includes training and support around good governance, the structure and principles of a cooperative, people management skills, improving operational management, enhancing financial and auditing techniques, and developing business and marketing plans.

“Supporting and strengthening farmer organizations is central to Cargill’s commitment to securing a long-term supply of high quality cocoa and to improving cocoa farmers’ livelihoods,” said Lionel Soulard, managing director for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “With our Coop Academy program, it is the first time this level and scale of training is offered to the cocoa sector. It provides cooperative leaders with the knowledge to improve the day-to-day running of their coops and crucially enables them to develop the skills to grow their business successfully. Ultimately our customers will significantly benefit from this ground-breaking enterprise to sustain a high-quality supply of cocoa.”

The Cargill Coop Academy was developed in partnership with TechnoServe, a non-profit organization that develops business solutions to poverty, and INPHB (a top university in the Ivory Coast), and is supported by the International Finance Corporation, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and Emerging Leaders, an N.G.O. focused on bringing leadership training to farmer communities.

The Cargill Cocoa Promise is the company’s global commitment to developing a sustainable cocoa supply chain and to making a difference in three key areas: improving the lives of cocoa farmers, supporting cocoa farming communities, and investing in the future of cocoa farming. Under the Cargill Cocoa Promise, Cargill invests and provides financing, training and support to secure a sustainable cocoa supply chain in cocoa producing countries, including the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil.
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