The commitment of Cargill's cocoa and chocolate business on the journey toward a sustainable cocoa supply chain has reached another milestone with the delivery of the first UTZ CERTIFIED/Good Inside chocolate liquor to North America.

The cocoa comes from farmers in Cote d'Ivoire that have participated in Cargill's Farmer Field School programs and reached UTZ certification after independent auditing. During the 10-month Farmer Field School training program, these farmers are trained in safety and good agricultural practices, focusing on farming techniques and post-harvest activities such as pruning, plantation renewal and cocoa fermentation methods. Cargill's farmer training program has resulted in farmers benefitting from a 30-percent increase on average in their incomes from higher yields, as well as from an improvement in the quality of their crop. In addition, the program also stresses broader social aspects, such as the importance of ensuring childhood education and HIV awareness.

The UTZ CERTIFIED/Good Inside cocoa program ? co-founded by Cargill, Dutch development organization Solidaridad and a multi-stakeholder group from the cocoa sector ? introduced independent certification to improve agricultural, environmental and social practices in cocoa production in 2007. The support for small-scale farmers improves farming practices, thereby producing a higher quality crop with increased productivity.

"We believe training farmers to increase yields, improve quality and adopt more sustainable practices can directly contribute to increased earnings for cocoa farmers," said Don Pearson, president of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate North America. "While increases for each farmer may vary depending on the market price, quality and yields, farmers who adopt better farming practices are benefitting from higher incomes, as well as improving their long-term success."

Cargill's cocoa and chocolate business has long been committed to developing a sustainable cocoa supply chain and took a vital step toward a solution when it became a founding partner of the UTZ CERTIFIED/Good Inside cocoa program. Offering sustainably-sourced UTZ CERTIFIED/Good Inside cocoa and chocolate products provides a better future for cocoa farmers and enables customers to join in the journey toward sustainability, resulting in excellent products that consumers can enjoy and feel good about.

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