Cargill joins in launch of US-Côte d’Ivoire business council

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Cargill joined several other major U.S. companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and its Ivorian counterpart, APEX-CI, to launch the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire Business Council. The business council will serve as the premiere organization in Washington, D.C. dedicated to the broad advancement of U.S. commercial engagement with Côte d’Ivoire.

CEO Greg Page attended a ceremony near the United Nations headquarters in New York, which was also attended by other business leaders and government dignitaries.

“As a business leader in both the U.S. and Côte d’Ivoire, we have seen first-hand how investment, knowledge sharing and international trade can improve livelihoods and stimulate economic growth,” Greg said. “The Council provides a forum to encourage long-term trade and investment that can support Côte d’Ivoire’s continuing progress towards delivering greater prosperity for its people.”

Other U.S. companies participating in the council include Chevron, Citi, FedEx and GE. The council will provide a high-level forum for dialogue on key economic, commercial and political issues of interest to American companies operating in or exploring business opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire. It will consist of senior-level executives of U.S. companies from every major sector doing business in the African country.

Cargill’s presence in Côte d’Ivoire

Cargill has had cocoa operations in Côte d’Ivoire since 1997, and today the company employs more than 500 people there, with a major cocoa facility in Abidjan that processes Ivorian cocoa beans into high-quality products including cocoa butter, liquor and powders for customers around the world.

Côte d’Ivoire has also been a central part of Cargill’s Sustainable Cocoa Program, the goal of which is to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their families, and to secure the long-term sustainability of cocoa production.

Cargill has a network of more than 1,100 farmer field schools that are training 60,000 farmers in 2011-12. The training these farmers receive focuses on improving farming techniques to raise yields and farmer incomes, as well as how to achieve independent UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification. Participating farmers have seen average yields rise by nearly 50 percent.