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Hershey Launches $40m Programme To Aid Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Farmers

Hershey, the American chocolate giant, has announced a significant milestone in its efforts to create more sustainable and equitable cocoa supply chains. The company has launched incentive payments to over 1,400 farmers as part of its ‘Income Accelerator’ programme, a five-year initiative designed to improve the living conditions of cocoa farmers.

Commitment to Ivorian farming communities

The large-scale programme, which began in April 2023 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire’s economic capital, has a total budget of $40 million. It has already positively impacted over 1,800 households in key production areas: Duékoué, Guiberoua, and Bonon.


The official launch ceremony on April 24, 2023, featured prominent figures including Koné Brahima Yves, Director General of the Coffee-Cocoa Council, and Jason Reiman, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Hershey.

‘The Income Accelerator represents a decisive turning point in our long-term commitment to sustainably transform the lives of cocoa farmers and their children,’ said Reiman. ‘By directly paying incentives to farmers, we are creating a virtuous circle that stimulates productivity, improves incomes, and strengthens community resilience.’

Ivorian authorities have welcomed the initiative. Koné Brahima Yves emphasised the importance of such partnerships: ‘We are together to make this program successful because improving the income of cocoa-producing households in Côte d’Ivoire has always been our fight.’

A comprehensive action plan

Hershey’s 360° approach aims to remove all barriers to economic development for cocoa farmers. The plan includes an in-depth agricultural diagnosis with 21 criteria for resilient and sustainable production, co-construction of business plans with agronomic experts, training in financial management and entrepreneurship, support for village savings and credit associations, and an extensive reforestation and agroforestry programme. Incentive cash transfers ranging from $100 to $600 reward farmers for achieving specific objectives.

Empowering communities for sustainable impact

Hershey emphasises farmer involvement through a Learning Advisory Committee under the Coffee-Cocoa Council to strengthen public-private dialogue. Cocoa farmer Siméon Oulaï from Duékoué expressed his enthusiasm: ‘The first payment received in March was a very pleasant surprise! I quickly reinvested this unexpected windfall in my plantation. But this program goes far beyond the financial aspect – the training gives us the keys to boost our production while preserving our environment.’

Thierry Kouassi, group administrator at the Allah Kabo cooperative in Duékoué, noted the programme’s ripple effect: ‘The excitement is palpable! Even initially reluctant producers are now knocking on our door, impressed by the concrete results. The extension of the project to more producers from 2025 is excellent news for our entire community.’

This initiative underscores Hershey’s ongoing commitment to ethical supply chains and shared prosperity for the communities that sustain the global cocoa industry.

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