LONDON, 25 March 2013–The ICCO’s Integrated Management of Pests and Pathogens project, announced in February, is to hold its inception workshop at the Oak Plaza Hotel in Accra, Ghana, 15 – 18 April.

The project, organized in conjunction with the Ghana Cocoa Board and the Common Fund for Commodities, is being supported by two of the world’s largest chocolate makers, Mars and Mondelez International, as well as the European Cocoa Association.

The US$3.2 million project aims to tackle the cocoa pests and diseases that are the main challenges to sustainable cocoa economy.

The four-day workshop is free of charge, and open to all interested parties. Pre-registration is not required.

Full details of the background to the meeting and the draft programme are available here: Pests and Pathogens Workshop April 2013 Accra–Background and Programme

Click here to see the initial news report on the project, with more details.

21 March 2013, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia–The International Cocoa Organization is to organize an International Workshop on Cocoa Certification in Douala, Cameroon, 24 – 27 June 2013, the ICCO announced today.

The Workshop, to be organized in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce of Cameroon and the Office National du Café et du Cacao, and supported by the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH, aims to bring together all stakeholders to build consensus on certification and improve on existing certification schemes.

Schemes including Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Utz and organic currently hold about 15% of the world cocoa market, but there is still great uncertainty as to whether certification provides a clear benefit to cocoa farmers. Following on from an ICCO-commissioned study on cocoa certification that was published in 2012, the Workshop intends to give both sides of the certification argument the chance to put their cases and to find ways to narrow the differences between them.

The recommendations from the Workshop will form the basis for implementing certification so that it yields an improvement in the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

The Workshop is directed at farmers, cooperative members, key officials from relevant government departments of producing and consuming countries, executives from chocolate and cocoa companies, and representatives from certification bodies, civil society and research organizations.

NB: Please note the venue change! The Workshop will now take place in the Hotel Sawa in Douala

More details, including the subjects likely to be discussed at the Workshop, are available by downloading the official announcement of the Workshop here.

Download: Study on the costs, advantages and disadvantages of cocoa certification--October 2012 Download: Étude sur les coûts, les avantages et les désavantages de la certification du cacao -- Octobre 2012

Kuta, Bali, Indonesia, 18 March 2012—Indonesia, the third largest cocoa producer in the world, today became the latest cocoa stakeholder to sign the Abidjan Cocoa Declaration, the ICCO said.

Indonesian Agriculture Minister Dr H Suswono used the occasion of the 87th meetings of the International Cocoa Council, to sign the Declaration, making Indonesia the 32nd stakeholder to do so. The Council and subsidiary body meetings are being hosted this week in Bali by the government of Indonesia.

Indonesia joins stakeholders ranging from cocoa growers through their governments to civil society and most of the world’s largest manufacturers of chocolate, all of whom began the signing of the ground-breaking agreement at a special ceremony during the World Cocoa Conference in Abidjan in November. The Declaration remains open to allow more cocoa stakeholder organizations to sign it.

The Abidjan Cocoa Declaration, which recommends specific and measurable actions to achieve a sustainable cocoa economy, reflects the more detailed proposals of the Global Cocoa Agenda. The important issues highlighted by the Agenda formed the basis of many of the presentations, discussions and panel sessions that took place at the World Cocoa Conference.

The Declaration is to be the first step in an ongoing process aimed at creating a sustainable future for the cocoa sector and helping to ensure that its benefits are shared along the entire chain, starting with the growers. Another World Cocoa Conference is planned in 2014 to monitor and review the progress made dealing with the issues outlined by the Declaration and the Agenda.

The texts of both the Abidjan Cocoa Declaration and the Global Cocoa Agenda, as well as most of the presentations that were delivered at the World Cocoa Conference, can be downloaded here.

The previous signatories to the Abidjan Cocoa Declaration were: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Togo, Papua New Guinea, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestlé, Petra Foods, Armajaro Trading Ltd, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ferrero Trading, Federation of Cocoa Commerce, Touton, ADM, CAOBISCO, World Cocoa Foundation, IDH (Dutch Sustainable Agriculture Initiative), ECA (European Cocoa Association), Olam International / Outspan Ivoire, ACP (The Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States), Talents (farmer), Amtrada/Continaf, CEMOI, ICI (International Cocoa Initiative), HCCO (Hamburg Cocoa & Commodity Office GmbH), Noble Group and Blommer Chocolate.