World Cocoa Foundation and USDA Announce Borlaug and Cochran Global Cocoa Fellowships
Successful public-private partnership to sponsor 32 new international cocoa professionals
WASHINGTON, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) announced yesterday the continuation of the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program Global Cocoa Initiative, which strengthens sustainable agricultural practices in the cocoa sector by providing scientific training and collaborative research opportunities to visiting researchers, policymakers, and university faculty. WCF also announced a new partnership with USDA-FAS for involvement in the Cochran Fellowship Program through a Global Cocoa Initiative, which provides U.S.-based training for senior and mid-level specialists and administrators from public and private sectors who are engaged in cocoa-related agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing.
The announcement was made during the 66th Annual PMCA Production Conference by Bill Guyton, World Cocoa Foundation; Patricia R. Sheikh, USDA-FAS; Louis Koko, National Center for Agricultural Research and first-ever Cocoa Borlaug Fellow from Cote d'Ivoire; Samuel Orisajo, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria and Cocoa Borlaug Fellowship program Alumnus; Andy McCormick, The Hershey Company; Ruth Moloney, Armajaro Trading; and Abdoulaye Traore, Mars Incorporated.
Borlaug Global Cocoa Initiative
Jointly selected by WCF and USDA, the Borlaug Fellows will complete a two to three month fellowship in the U.S. By 2016, this program will sponsor twenty cocoa scientists in total, with ten from Africa, five from Southeast Asia, and five from the Americas. Fellows are placed in American universities or research institutions and work with a mentor to further their work. The fellows will also participate in several activities organized by WCF designed to improve their knowledge of the cocoa supply chain and build linkages with other researchers and industry members. These activities can include education visits to WCF member companies including port/warehousing facilities, processing plants and manufacturing plants.
Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation said, "The Cocoa Borlaug Fellowship Program is an excellent example of a successful public-private partnership that is mutually beneficial for cocoa farmers and the cocoa industry. The important work of these scientists helps to address challenges in the cocoa sector, improves cocoa production, and in turn, supports increased incomes for farmers and their communities."
"The World Cocoa Foundation has been an invaluable private-sector partner in USDA's efforts to foster sustainable farming practices and strengthen communities in cocoa-producing countries around the world," said Suzanne Heinen, administrator of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. "We are pleased to be expanding this successful partnership, and with WCF's continued support we will be able to broaden our impact by offering training and mentoring opportunities not just to the scientific community, but to other public- and private-sector professionals as well."
Dr. Louis Koko, Soils/Nutrition/Physiology Scientist at the National Center for Agricultural Research (CNRA) in Cote d'Ivoire added, "The Cocoa Borlaug Fellowship Program is an exceptional opportunity to improve my scientific abilities. It has been a great honor for me to be selected as the first Cocoa Borlaug Fellow from Cote d'Ivoire. For young scientists like me, the Borlaug Program is a key that opens the doors of the scientific world. I remain convinced that my participation in this program will encourage other young scientists from Cote d'Ivoire and other countries to apply for this fellowship." Following the announcement, Koko was to participate in the PMCA Conference and visit chocolate manufacturing facilities in central Pennsylvania owned by WCF Member companies Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, The Hershey Company, and Mars Incorporated.
Cochran Fellowship Program – Global Cocoa Initiative
The Cochran Fellowship Program, Global Cocoa Initiative, provides U.S.-based training opportunities for senior and mid-level specialists and administrators from public and private sectors that are concerned with cocoa-related agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing. Cocoa, although grown outside the U.S., is an essential ingredient for products manufactured and sold in the U.S., and is directly responsible for nearly 70,000 American jobs. The Cocoa Cochran Fellowships will help countries to increase the quantity and improve the quality of cocoa to better meet the needs of U.S. manufacturers.
By 2016, this program will sponsor twelve fellows, from Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. Fellows will complete a two- to three-week fellowship in the U.S. through educational study tours that could include visits to WCF member companies, U.S. government agencies, and universities.
Millions of people in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America depend on cocoa farming for their living. The prevalence of pests and diseases, among other issues, are an obstacle to cocoa production and significant source of crop losses in all three cocoa-growing regions. In Latin America alone, farmers can lose up to 60% or more of their cocoa crop to diseases and pests. WCF supports research efforts and training programs to further the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of cocoa production.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership foundation that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits. These efforts help increase the supply of cocoa and help guarantee chocolate lovers access to their favorite products. WCF's membership includes cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80% of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.
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