JAKARTA, Indonesia (PRNewswire) — Cargill's Cocoa and Chocolate business, international development agency Swisscontact and the Soppeng Regency Government have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement the Cargill Cocoa Promise in the Soppeng Regency of South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.
The Cargill Cocoa Promise is the company's global commitment to the development of a sustainable cocoa supply chain  and to making a difference in three key areas – improving the lives of cocoa farmers, supporting cocoa farming communities, and investing in the future of cocoa farming.
The signing of the MoU was conducted by the representatives of the companies including H. Aris Muhammadiyah, Vice Regent of Soppeng; Pither Sutardji, Cocoa Sourcing Manager, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate; and Manfred Borer, Program Director, Sustainable Cocoa Production Program (SCPP), Swisscontact.
As part of the Cargill's $100 million investment in Indonesia, this reinforces the company's commitment to develop and grow Indonesia's cocoa industry and strengthen the company's sustainability activities.
With the signing of the MoU, Cargill has extended its existing Cocoa Promise into Soppeng. This is an important step in developing sustainable cocoa production and supporting farmers in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, to create a viable future with improved cocoa yields and more sustainable farm standards. Swisscontact is supporting the field implementation of the program to promote local development of farmers and to stimulate cooperation. Since Indonesia is the world's third largest cocoa producer, the program strengthens Cargill's intention to scale up cocoa operations and increase value to the cocoa beans produced in Indonesia to help meet increasing demand for cocoa across Asia.
The Cargill Cocoa Promise in Soppeng Regency will provide a flexible and low-cost technology transfer system for cocoa farmers, and train farmers on good agricultural practices. It will also help establish farmers' organizations, which will play a crucial role in the administration and certification of cocoa crops.
"We are excited by the launch of the program and highly appreciate Cargill's efforts to improve Soppeng's cocoa beans product quality and our cocoa farmers' incomes," said H. Aris Muhammadiyah, Vice Regent of Soppeng. "Cocoa is one of the key commodities that provide significant contributions to Soppeng Regency's economy, and this sustainable cocoa program will further improve our cocoa farmers' welfare and strengthen Soppeng Regency's position as one of the most important high quality cocoa beans production centers in Indonesia."
Pither Sutardji, Cocoa Sourcing Manager, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate said: "Cargill's Cocoa Promise in Soppeng Regency is beneficial for both local farmers and our customers. Improving farmers' productivity and bean quality means farmers' profitability will increase and the living standards of farmers and their families will improve. It will also help us achieve our goal to develop a sustainable cocoa supply chain and improve the quality of cocoa for our customers."
"This Public Private Partnership in Soppeng Regency is an extension of the tried and tested approach in neighboring Bone Regency and the collaboration with Cargill and the local Government is expected to improve the economy of local cocoa farmers," said Manfred Borer, Swisscontact SCPP Program Director, and further elaborating that "by means of implementing comprehensive training in on- and off-farm management to improve farm productivity and quality of cocoa production, the program serves both private and public interest in a flourishing cocoa economy in Soppeng Regency."
Cargill's Cocoa Promise program in Indonesia is committed to:
- train and support farmers in regard to good agricultural practice, rehabilitation, and post-harvest processing for sustainable cocoa agriculture.
- improve smallholders' family nutrition.
- set up of farmers' organizations that play a crucial role in the administration and certification of the cocoa crops, and allow farmers to share expertise and sell their crop at the best possible price.
- provide a flexible and low cost technology transfer system for cocoa farmers.
- support cocoa smallholders in farm evaluation and rehabilitation.
Cargill's Cocoa Promise complements Cargill's participation in PISAgro (Partnership for Indonesia's Sustainable Agriculture), an initiative lead by the Government of Indonesia consisting of prominent private companies in the agriculture sector that aims to improve the economic welfare of farmers, increase the production yield and increase environmental awareness.
Cargill has had a presence in Indonesia for more than 35 years. The program is the latest example of Cargill's support for smallholders in Indonesia where it is already supporting activities in palm, livestock farming and corn production. Cargill's cocoa activities include cocoa sourcing operations in Sulawesi and its upcoming processing facility in Gresik. Additional Cargill operations in the country include grain and oilseeds, palm oil, animal nutrition, as well as starches and sweeteners operations.
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and nearly 150 years of experience. We have 143,000 employees in 67 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit Cargill.com  and our News Center .
Cargill has extended its plan to promote a sustainable cocoa supply chain to an Indonesian province. Cargill, a multinational agro-industrial giant, is the largest privately held company in the United States. Indonesia is world's third-leading cocoa producer.