DECATUR, ILL. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. plans to donate more than $576,000 to Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) International to fund bridge and well construction projects in 24 villages throughout the Ivory Coast. The move is being undertaken to help improve the lives of cocoa farmers who provide ADM with thousands of tonnes of cocoa beans each year.

As part of the effort, ADM will provide funds to OIC International to build 16 clean water wells and 8 small bridges by the end of 2011. Construction of the bridges is expected to improve cocoa bean collection and transportation processes, which ADM said should broaden the marketing opportunities for cocoa farmers.

“Working with OIC International to fund these crucial infrastructure projects is another example of ADM’s commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities,” said David Loue, sustainable development manager for ADM Cocoa in the Ivory Coast. “Construction of the clean water wells and bridges will lead to better health and more reliable infrastructure, resulting in improved farm incomes for 120,000 people in these communities, including 18,000 cocoa farmers who provide ADM Cocoa with approximately 18,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans per year.”

ADM grinds approximately 16% of the world’s cocoa crop, and in the Ivory Coast the company operates the UNICAO cocoa processing facility in Abidjan, two cocoa conditioning and storage facilities in Abidjan and one cocoa conditioning and storage facility in San Pedro, where beans are cleaned, checked for quality and prepared for export.