U.S. Government Supports Cocoa Development in Cameroon
On July 20, Ambassador Jackson officiated in the launch of the African Cocoa Initiative (ACI) program in Cameroon. The ACI is a partnership among the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of the Netherlands through the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) aimed at promoting sustainable cocoa production in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria.
The ACI will have four key aspects: fostering public-private cooperative investments in cocoa and agriculture, improving the genetic quality and productivity of the cocoa varieties under cultivation, expanding farmer education and training programs, and improving the agriculture input supply chains that serve the farmers.
Through the program, USAID will contribute significant funding and expertise to improve farmer incomes, alleviate poverty, strengthen government and regional institutions, and help attain food security throughout the region. This advances the goals of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future Initiative to increase agricultural productivity and the economic well-being of smallholder farmers.
The ACI is particularly innovative because it recognizes the private sector as a catalyst for economic growth, with particular emphasis on bringing in private capital. The budget for this initiative stands at $13.8 million (FCFA 7.3 billion) with plans to leverage at least $25 million from the private sector during the project life.
To this end, USAID’s effort is matched in this initiative by financial support from 14 companies: Kraft, Mars, Hershey, Nestle, ADM, Barry Callebaut, Lindt &Sprungli, Blommer, Continaf, Cargill, Olam, Ferrerro, Guittard, and Noble Resources. Besides serving as a valuable model for a successful public-private partnership, this also represents the commitment of the private sector to the region’s cocoa production and agricultural development.
For more information, please contact the United States Embassy in Yaounde, Press section Tel 22 20 15 00, ext 4162 or 4273.