For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development and Kraft Foods launched the Agency's Public-Private Partnership Week (October 17-21) by joining forces to support cacao farmers in the Dominican Republic.
The new partnership, which links USAID's support for small farmers with Kraft Foods' Cocoa Partnership, aims to increase local cocoa yields and quality, promote production of Fair Trade cacao, encourage more young adults to work along the cacao supply chain, and help more than 10,000 farmers in the USAID-supported National Confederation of Dominican Cacao (CONACADO) earn more income.
"Public-private partnerships like this one are a key part of USAID's development strategy in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it benefits all the stakeholders," said Mark Feierstein, USAID's Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. "Small farmers earn more money, businesses have access to a higher-quality product, and USAID raises extra resources for development."
Through its Cocoa Partnership, established in 2008, Kraft Foods has committed to invest $70 million over 10 years to improve farming and harvesting practices in the communities from which it sources cacao. Helping Dominican farmers produce more high-quality cacao in a sustainable way is important to the company's core business interests, since Kraft Foods buys much of the product used in its high-end Green & Black's brand from that country.
"As we've seen in places like Ghana, our Cocoa Partnership's success depends on the partnerships we establish," said Bharat Puri, Senior Vice President, Global Chocolate, Kraft Foods. "The challenges facing today's cacao farmer cannot be solved by any one company or organization. Only by working together - public and private sectors along with farmers and civil society - will we be able to make the difference that's needed."
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Feierstein and Kraft Foods' Vice President of Global Public Policy, Anne Alonzo, and witnessed by U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Raul Yzaguirre. USAID and Kraft Foods plan to use this new agreement as a springboard for future collaboration in cacao-growing communities across Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
Last updated: May 21, 2012