Hersheys Helps African Family Farms Make More Money and Grow More Cocoa

Someone said there are no purely self-less acts. Hershey has recently committed to invest over $10 million to help the farming families in West Africa. Cocoa farming families, that is. They want the farmers to not only produce more chocolate for their popular candy bars and snacks, but to produce it for a long time forward. Is it all about the bottom line or is there real charity at work here?

In most West African farming communities, the resources to farm efficiently are limited. Not only do they lack all the sophisticated technological machinery and equipment that can optimize yield with computer-like accuracy, but basic family needs are sometimes lacking as well. Health is a big one. Sanitation and drought concerns have caused health issues, but lack of proper nutrition is a factor too. Part of that is because the families don't have enough money to properly feed themselves.

Hershey is doing a great thing by not just giving the farmers a fish, but teaching them how to fish. I knew there was a parable in this story somewhere. By working with local experts in agriculture and in community development, Hershey hopes to achieve genuine progress in these areas. They estimate that family farms are capable of producing 50% more cocoa than they currently produce. That kind of bulk increase would provide a nice bump in the income of the farming families which would benefit the communities as a whole.

This isn't the first time Hershey has gotten involved with cocoa farmers. They have been providing assistance to for over 50 years. So, they now have an extensive network of partnerships they can leverage to provide knowledge and other resources to the West African cocoa farmers. There are currently 2 million of these farmers and their growth and continued success would mean that Hershey will have a reliable supplier for the raw material that makes some of the best chocolate candy out there.

Here's what their CEO, J.P. Bilbrey, had to say about the project:

"Our global consumers want The Hershey Company to be a leader in responsible business practices and in finding smart ways to benefit cocoa communities. We are excited and humbled by this opportunity to create positive change in West Africa."_x009d_

Corporate CEO-speak or genuine good will? I say, who cares. If it works like they say it will, it's a win-win. We, the candy lovers, get to enjoy Hersheys chocolate for years to come and communities is West Africa have healthier and happier families. Kudos to Hershey on a smart business move for all the right reasons.

Support Hershey and their campaign; buy Hershey chocolate candy in bulk at candystore.com.

Photograph by: Karen Robinson
Hersheys Helps African Family Farms Make More Money and Grow More Cocoa.

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