Case in point: the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut, has announced plans to spend $1 million on a Center of Cocoa Excellence in the African nation of Ivory Coast. With this investment the company aims to double cocoa yields from farms in this key growing region.

As reported by, the center will introduce advanced agricultural techniques to the region and will feature an expansive “showcase farm” to test the latest intercropping approaches. The farm will also feature other crops including coconut, mango, pineapple, and rubber. Farmers will be trained on grafting and farm regeneration techniques.

In addition to the farm, the center will feature a classroom, nurseries of cocoa and shade trees, as well as fermentation and drying facilities. The center is expected to be operational by October 2012.

Meanwhile, two other companies have teamed up for GrowCocoa, a sustainability effort created by Blommer Chocolate Co. and supply chain manager Olam International that aims to help farmers increase cocoa yields.

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