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Mars Wrigley Backs 2000-Ha Sustainable Cocoa Project In Latin America

Global chocolate and confectionery giant Mars Wrigley has announced a new partnership with 12Tree and ECOM to develop a 2000-hectare climate-smart sustainable cocoa project in Latin America.

The American multinational says the project, known as Andean Cacao, seeks to catalyse sustainable farming by changing how cocoa is grown.

Andean Cacao is also aimed at pioneering modern agriculture practices that regenerate soil and positively impact communities.

“Mars Wrigley’s commitment to a long-term agreement will help to provide financial stability and the development of Andean Cacao to scale to prove its transformative agricultural model,” a press release noted.

The initiative banks on the expertise of 12Tree, a transformative asset manager and operator in the area of agroforestry, and ECOM, one of the world’s largest suppliers of sustainable cocoa beans.

According to Mars Wrigley, the new venture will initially focus on regenerating over 2,000 hectares of cattle grazing land in Latin America into a highly productive, sustainable farm with the goal of delivering quality carbon-neutral cocoa beans.

The firm added, Andean Cacao seeks to improve carbon sequestration, soil health, and biodiversity, create living-wage job opportunities, and support neighbour communities.

“I’m excited about the knowledge we will gather through the Andean Cacao venture to apply the best of Modern Sustainable Cocoa Farming elsewhere, to scale learnings, and to continue our journey to create a modern, inclusive, and sustainable cocoa supply,” Amber Johnson, Global Vice President of Cocoa Enterprise at Mars Wrigley, said.

This innovative venture is the latest step in Mars Wrigley’s journey through its Cocoa for Generations strategy to build a modern, inclusive, and a sustainable cocoa supply chain.

The company emphasised that the Andean Cacao project is an attestation of its continued commitment to trial new climate-smart and modern agriculture solutions, by focusing on three areas of impact, namely: soil health, improved livelihoods and community resilience, and science and agronomy based productivity increase.

Officialy information indicates, over the last two years, the farm has improved soil organic matter by 11% thanks to agroforestry and regenerative practices which will, in turn, contribute to increased carbon sequestration.

The news release sighted by Cocoa Post also noted, the farm has already created more than 225 job opportunities, with at least 20% filled by women, while a $1.5m project with the International Finance Corporation is supporting Andean Cacao to build modern sustainable farming capabilities and community resilience for neighbouring smallholders.

It stated that the partners, Mars Wrigley, 12Tree and ECOM together intend to prove new methods, technology, and sustainable farming techniques combined with a modern cocoa agriculture approach for farms to continue to increase yield.

This groundbreaking partnership will bring further growth to our flagship project, and bolster its climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity enhancement, people well-being, and smallholder initiatives.

We believe such a partnership can deliver revolutionary sustainable cocoa farming innovations thanks to knowledge sharing, collaboration to modernize agriculture practices, and joint efforts to create a sustainable value chain.

We aim to scale a productive and profitable transformative model for growing cocoa while achieving positive environmental and social impact,” Xavier Sagnieres, 12Tree executive and Andean Cacao CEO, said.

The Deputy CEO of ECOM Agrotrade, Nicolas de Wasseige, observed that by scaling up the concept and other similar approaches, the parties can accelerate the much-needed change in agricultural practices, environmental impact, and sustainable livelihoods.

“We are delighted to partner with Mars Wrigley and 12Tree on this exciting project which is a testbed for ideas that can transform the future of cocoa. This project offers great opportunities for smarter collaboration and innovation,” de Wasseige, added.

Mars Wrigley sources from more than 13 countries to create the right mix of cocoa for the chocolate portfolio that its consumers love.

The company assured, the Andean Cacao venture will continue to build on the company’s Cocoa for Generations strategy and initiatives across West Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia and it will mobilize transformative investment for sustainable land use to continue the journey of reshaping the future supply chain to make sustainable cocoa a reality for the next generation.

Kojo Hayford
Source Cocoa Post
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