Entry: Mbalo Ndiaye, World Cocoa Foundation

May 21, 2012, marked a significant step in the Government of Côte d’Ivoire’s commitment to setting the ways for a stronger relationship with the cocoa industry and other stakeholders. On behalf of the World Cocoa Foundation, Jean-Yves Couloud, our representative in Côte d’Ivoire, and I were convened in Abidjan, by the Cocoa and Coffee Council for the official launching of the National Cocoa/Coffee Public-Private Partnership Platform. The ceremony was presided by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly Sangafowa. This initial step in revamping policy dialogue, setting common priorities and leveraging resources and investments, was widely welcomed by key stakeholders in the Ivorian cocoa sector who were present at the ceremony. Also present were World Cocoa Foundation company members Mars, Kraft Foods, Nestle, Armajaro, Olam, Cemoi, Barry Callebaut, ADM, Cargill, Noble Resources and Ecom, as well as other WCF partners such as IDH, UNDP and GIZ.

The platform, which is actively supported by WCF through the WCF African Cocoa Initiative (ACI), will be key in boosting mutual trust and maintaining regular dialogue between the Government agencies, the industry, NGOs and international donors involved in cocoa development, and contribute in leveraging investments and funding in the sector. WCF is expected to play an active role in mobilizing and coordinating with the private sector (member companies), in bringing its technical expertise as a permanent member of the Technical Secretariat, and supporting the platform’s activities through ACI.

Farmer training, certification, pest control, research, access to planting material and agro-inputs and child labor have been identified by the Cocoa and Coffee Council as the most critical and urgent issues to address through the Platform. With its over 10 years experience in these areas in Côte d’Ivoire, WCF expertise and contributions will be critically valuable for the success of this initiative.