January 28/Parsippany, N.J./PRNewswire-FirstCall -- Cadbury has announced the establishment of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership to secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of around a million cocoa farmers and their communities in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean.

This ground-breaking initiative, which will be carried out in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners, marks 100 years since the Cadbury brothers first began trading in Ghana and aims to holistically support the development of sustainable cocoa growing communities.

Research by the University of Sussex and the University of Accra into "Sustainable Cocoa Production in Ghana," funded by Cadbury, showed that the average production for a cocoa farmer has dropped to only 40% of potential yield and that cocoa farming has become less attractive to the next potential generation of farmers. The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership programme aims to address some of the root causes of these issues -- improving farmer productivity and helping to attract the next generation into cocoa farming.

The partnership will therefore focus on:
1. Improving cocoa farmer incomes: by helping farmers increase their yields and produce top quality beans
2. Introducing new sources of rural income: through microfinance and business support to kick start new rural businesses and introduce additional income streams such as growing other crops
3. Investing in community led development: to improve life in cocoa communities e.g. supporting education through schools and libraries, supporting the environment through biodiversity projects, and building wells for clean, safe water
4. Working in partnership: developing a pioneering model which will be led from the grass roots. Farmers, governments, NGOs and international agencies will work together to decide how the funding is spent and work with local organisations to turn plans into action

Announcing the partnership, Jim Chambers, president of the Americas Region, said, "Sustainable cocoa production is vital to the company's success in our chocolate markets. We need to not only ensure the supply of the most important ingredient for our chocolate products, but also guarantee a reliable, long term source of the right quality cocoa, produced to the high standards our business, customers and our consumers expect."

The majority of the Partnership funds (70%) will be invested into small farms and farming villages in Ghana, which provide the cocoa beans for Cadbury's UK chocolate, giving it its unique and much loved taste. Brands using Ghanaian beans include Cadbury Dairy Milk, Wispa, Flake, Creme Egg and Buttons.

James Boateng, managing director of Cadbury Ghana, added, "In the centenary of our relationship with the cocoa farming industry in Ghana, we are incredibly proud to launch the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership in Accra today which we hope will have a lasting impact on the lives of cocoa farmers."

"I grew up on a cocoa farm, and owe my education to the prosperity which cocoa brought to my family, and look forward to contributing to the future of cocoa farming. In Ghana there is a phrase 'Coco obatanpa' which means 'Cocoa is a good parent; it looks after you'. We hope with this initiative Cadbury and our partners can be a good parent to cocoa."

Welcoming the initiative, UNDP's Resident Representative in Ghana Daouda Toure, said, "UNDP strives to promote inclusive, sustainable development, where everyone benefits as a country gets to grips with fighting poverty. Ghana has been producing cocoa for decades now and the industry has certainly gone some way to improving the lives of the Ghanaian people, but with this new public-private partnership approach developed with Cadbury, where both the small producer and the consumer benefit, we hope to show just how effectively sustainable cocoa production can be in generating improved opportunities for local farmers, conserving the environment and building a brighter future for younger generations."

Cadbury is initially investing 1m pounds Sterling in 2008 as a seed fund to establish the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, with annual funding levels rising to a steady rate of 5m pounds Sterling from 2010.

From the February 4, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash