USDA has announced that it will expand its partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation to improve cocoa production in developing countries worldwide, stimulating economic growth and improving the livelihoods of local farmers, producers and processors. Over the next five years, USDA and WCF will provide fellowships to 32 scientists and public- and private-sector professionals from cocoa-producing countries through two USDA programs: the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program and the Cochran Fellowship Program.
“Millions of people in West Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America depend upon cocoa production for their livelihoods,” said Suzanne Heinen, administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in a news release. “Through this public-private partnership, fellows from these regions will gain skills and knowledge that they can take back home to help their countries become more competitive in producing and exporting quality cocoa and cocoa products.”
About 70,000 Americans are directly employed in the cocoa and chocolate industries with many more employed in related industries such as dairy, sugar and nuts. More information about the Borlaug and Cochran Fellowship Programs is available online.