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02/04/2012: Cocoa Foundation Officials Help Promote Cocoa-Growing Communities

Ambassador Jose Cuisia (center) poses with (l-r) Philippine Agriculture Attache to the U.S. Dr. Josyline Javelosa, World Cocoa Foundation President Bill Guyton, WCF Program Manager Virginia Sopyla, and WCF Senior Outreach Adviser Tim McCoy.

02 April 2012, Washington DC.  Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr, received guests from the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) on March 28, 2012 at the Philippine Embassy. The WCF officials, led by its president, Bill Guyton, updated the Ambassador on its activities with Philippine partners such as the Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines, Mars Inc., Department of Agriculture, and University of Southern Mindanao, in promoting a sustainable cacao industry.

Mr. Guyton disclosed that the ten-year outlook for cacao shows a likely huge demand over supply gap and thus, emphasized the need for a sustainable supply. WCF Senior Adviser for Outreach Tim McCoy also offered to work with the Philippine Embassy and other embassies in Washington, including the ASEAN countries, in developing joint strategies towards promoting social and economic development as well as environmental stewardship in cocoa-growing communities.

WCF Program Manager Virginia Sopyla shared highlights of her recent trip to the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, where there has been enthusiasm in cacao production and processing among farmers and local governments, including the city of Davao. She also observed the potential of cacao in diversifying the income of farmers, such as by intercropping cacao with coconut and other crops.

Philippine Agriculture Attache Dr. Josyline Javelosa thanked WCF for its assistance over the recent years to Philippine fellows in cacao research particularly in the areas of genetics, breeding and pest control through the USDA's Norman Borlaug Program.

Ambassador Cuisia extended the Philippine government's appreciation for WCF's interest and support for the Philippines in developing its cacao industry and looked forward to further deepening engagements in this area. The Ambassador took pride in mentioning the prime quality of cocoa from Davao, which penetrated the U.S. market through Missouri-based Askinosie Chocolate Factory and expressed eagerness in further supporting cacao farmers and the chocolate industry.

WCF invited participants from the Philippines to the upcoming WCF 21st partnership meeting and roundtable sessions in Washington, D.C. on June 13 and 14, 2012, which has the theme "Better Cocoa: Driving Transformation & Measuring Success."

WCF is a non-profit and membership-based organization with approximately 70 member companies involved in the cocoa and chocolate industries around the world, representing over 80% of the global market.  END