USAID Innovation Chief Addresses Cocoa Industry Leaders

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
USAID Press Office

SAN FRANCISCO - USAID Chief Innovation Officer Maura O'Neill will be available for media interviews following her keynote address at the World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting in San Francisco on May 18, 2011.

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is a non-profit organization that promotes social and economic development as well as environmental stewardship in cocoa-growing communities. With approximately 80 member companies involved in the cocoa and chocolate industries around the world, the organization represents over 80 percent of the global market.

Her 9:30 a.m. address discussed USAID's long-standing partnership with the WCF and how cocoa production has transformed the lives of farmers in the tropics. The partnership has produced innovative agricultural methods in Africa, the Americas and Asia and has provided educational and financial opportunities for thousands of families working in the global cocoa industry.

In Asia, USAID and the World Cocoa Foundation formed the Sustainable Cocoa Extension Services for Smallholders Alliance (SUCCESS). From 2001-2005, 60,0000 farmers were trained and earned an additional $80 million in income over the period of the alliance. USAID and WCF continue to work with greater numbers of farmers through new programs in Indonesia and across the globe. USAID, WCF and partners have reached over 400,000 farmers worldwide. Building on these successes and the partners' entrepreneurial and high growth experiences, O'Neill presented a vision for continuing to transform farmers' lives while growing economies, conserving the environment and building peace. The challenge now is to reach the majority of the world's 4-5 million cocoa farmers.

O'Neill also discussed how the scaling up can occur through innovations such as USAID's new Development Innovations Ventures, maximizing the sustainability of supply chains and the role of cocoa in reducing deforestation. 250 guests attended O'Neill's address, representing 80 companies, civil society, development agencies and cocoa-producing countries.

Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 9:30 a.m. Location: Hilton San Francisco Financial District, 750 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

To request an interview with Maura O'Neill, please contact USAID Press Officer Drew Bailey at or 202-712-0961

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Last updated: May 21, 2012

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