US Helps Sulawesi Cocoa Farmers
JAKARTA ~ The United States announced a training program this week to help farmers in Sulawesi fight pests that eat cocoa beans and thereby boost exports to one of America’s largest chocolate manufacturers.
Indonesia is the world’s third largest cocoa producer, after Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The US Agency for International Development has facilitated an agreement between Blommer Chocolate Co. and supplier PT Olam Indonesia to train farmers in Sulawesi to improve productivity and tackle the cocoa pod borer, the US embassy said in a statement.
The moth-like pest lays its larvae in cocoa pods, reducing yields by up to 60 percent and leaving the farmer with a poor-quality crop.
Sulawesi‘s farmers lost US$127 million last year due to the ravages of the pest, the embassy said.
The training program would also help farmers improve productivity and quality by 30 percent, enabling them to increase production by 35,000 tons a year, it said.
Blommer has agreed to buy premium-quality beans at above market value.
The US imported 136,000 tons of cocoa from Indonesia in 2005, with American chocolate manufacturers buying about 40 percent of Sulawesi cocoa butter exports, the embassy said.Filed under: