New agreement in Indonesia helps cocoa sector continue to grow

Posted by Josette Dunn on 9th August 2010

Mars, together with SwissContact will supply technical input and train the trainer support for the new PEKA program in the Indonesian region of Aceh.

Cocoa Pod

SwissContact is a development organization of the Swiss private sector that provides support to entrepreneurial individuals in developing and transition economies.  This agreement continues to keep “farmer’s first”, helping to ensure the growth and the development of the Indonesian cocoa sector starting at the farmer level, based on the basic principles of long term economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Indonesia launched the PEKA (Peningkatan Ekonomi Kakao Aceh) Program on July 1, 2010, in collaboration with the international cocoa industry and NGOs, to increase and improve revenue, productivity, and quality standards of the Aceh cocoa sector, a tsunami recovery area.

Additional collaborators on this program include the World Cocoa Foundation, one of the leading organizations in the world actively supporting a range of farm-level programs harnessing sustainable agriculture practices to improve the quality of life for the millions of independent smallholder farmers growing this unique crop, and Armajaro Trading Ltd, a commodities and financial services business headquartered in London.

The PEKA Program is a 21-month, $6.8 million pilot program aiming to train 12,500 farmers directly with a goal of increasing productivity by 50%. 75% of cocoa beans will meet the Indonesian national standard versus 25% currently.

PT Mars Symbioscience Indonesia will play a key role in advising SwissContact in various areas of this program including the establishment of five District Cocoa Clinics, sourcing and transferring of trees used in clonal trials, monitoring and research activities, and train the trainer projects. And based on years of experience, Mars will also advise SwissContact on the establishment and implementation of Farmer Field Schools.

“Increasing cocoa production by productivity improvements and therefore increasing farmer income is a critical goal at Mars. Partnering with organizations like SwissContact, which has been engaged for more than 40 years in efforts that empower people in developing countries to improve their living conditions and gradually escape from poverty, are important ways we can ensure the long-term prosperity and sustainability of cocoa farming in Indonesia,” said Ian Pople, Indonesia Country Manager for Mars Symbioscience.

Mars, Incorporated, as the parent company of PT. Mars Symbioscience Indonesia, has provided support to cocoa farmers and to the development of sustainable cocoa for many years, investing funds and resources to work with cocoa farmer communities, government agencies, local and international researchers, donor organizations and numerous industry partners to drive real change in the way that cocoa farming is managed in Indonesia.