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Published:January 30th, 2008 14:24 EST

Cadbury forms parternership with cocoa Farmers

By SOP newswire

The United Nations Development Programme  (UNDP) is setting up a partnership with the confectionery conglomerate Cadbury to support cocoa-farming communities in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean by helping them to boost their crop yields, find new sources of income and improve local infrastructure.

Under the public-private initiative, announced this week in Accra, Ghana, Cadbury is to invest seed funding of $2 million in the project this year, with annual funding to rise to $10 million by 2010.

About 70 per cent of the money will be invested in Ghana, which provides the cocoa beans for Cadbury's chocolate products in the United Kingdom and where current cocoa yields reach only 40 per cent of their potential.

UN agencies in Ghana and elsewhere will work with local farmers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government officials to determine how best to spend the funds.

The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership is expected to focus on increasing the yields of farmers so that they produce top-quality beans. It will also introduce new sources of income, through microfinance and other forms of business support, while some funds will be spent on building or improving infrastructure, including schools, libraries, water wells and biodiversity protection projects.

Daouda Touré, UNDP's Resident Representative in Ghana, said the agency was striving to promote a more inclusive model of sustainable development.

"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," Mr. Touré said.