Latest Hershey Learn to Grow Program to Benefit 8,000 Cocoa Farmers in Côte d’Ivoire

The Hershey Company has created a new program with Barry Callebaut, a cocoa sourcing partner, through its Hershey Learn to Grow initiative to help thousands of cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. The program gives Ivorian cocoa farmers the opportunity to improve their productivity and raise their incomes to benefit their entire community. (Photo: Business Wire)

HERSHEY, Pa.--()--The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY):

  • Farmer training to improve livelihoods for thousands in cocoa communities
  • Initiative to obtain birth certificates for children will enable school enrollment
  • Hershey and partner Barry Callebaut commit to building two rural schools
  • Work aligns with industry’s CocoaAction strategy to help cocoa communities across Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana

The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced today a new partnership with Barry Callebaut, one of its long-term strategic cocoa sourcing partners, to help thousands of farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. Through Hershey Learn to Grow, Ivorian cocoa farmers will have the opportunity to improve their productivity, raise their incomes and benefit their entire community.

In addition to training 8,000 farmers in sustainable, modern cocoa farming practices that will increase family incomes, the program will help hundreds of children obtain birth certificates, allowing them to enroll in school for the first time. Hershey and Barry Callebaut have also committed to build two new rural primary schools in Cote d’Ivoire as part of the program to further promote education for children in cocoa communities. In 2012, Hershey and Barry Callebaut collaborated to build the Abokro Primary School in western Côte d’Ivoire. Today, the 190-student school features a solar-powered water wheel, a school canteen for meals and a medical clinic.

“We are expanding our Hershey Learn to Grow in Côte d’Ivoire because we have seen how farmer training improves cocoa sustainability and positively impacts the lives of farmers and their families,” said Terry O’Day, Senior Vice President, Chief Supply Chain Officer. “We are proud to be part of the overall industry efforts through CocoaAction to help improve the lives of cocoa farmers, empower women in the cocoa regions and make a difference for their communities. It’s also great to join forces with key partners, such as Barry Callebaut, to help farmers and their families by investing in schools and development projects that help children and benefit the entire community.” Both companies are founding members of CocoaAction, the industry strategy to accelerate cocoa sustainability and improve the livelihoods of 300,000 cocoa farmers and their communities.

With today’s announcement, the Hershey Learn to Grow program plans to enroll approximately 70,000 West African cocoa farmers by 2019.

“We are honored to have been selected by Hershey to support their cocoa sustainability programs and to source more certified cocoa,” said Dave Johnson, President and CEO of Barry Callebaut Americas. “As a long-term partner of Hershey, we will do everything to support the company in their commitment to purchase 100% certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020. With our strong presence on the ground, we help customers such as Hershey to implement their CocoaAction targets.”

Helping Kids in Need

Hershey’s work to support children in cocoa communities links to the company’s heritage of sharing goodness by creating bright futures for children in need. This was a focus for the company’s founder, Milton Hershey, through his efforts to support children’s education. Today, the company has expanded that mission by working to provide children with the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow. For example, Hershey funded and helped build a factory in Ghana for Project Peanut Butter, a program that makes and distributes vitamin-enriched nutritional packets to alleviate childhood malnutrition. Through its Project Peanut Butter work, Hershey has also launched an innovative program to provide supplemental nutrition to school children in Ghana. Called Energize Learning, Hershey will distribute Vivi, a highly nutritious peanut-based supplement, to children through the Ghanaian school feeding program. Hershey also supports other child nutrition efforts around the world.

Barry Callebaut to Support Hershey in Accelerating the Sourcing of Certified and Sustainable Cocoa

The Learn to Grow programs in Côte d’Ivoire also help accelerate Hershey’s purchase of certified and sustainably grown cocoa. Hershey and its partners, such as Barry Callebaut, are working with recognized certified bodies such as UTZ Certified, Rain Forest Alliance and Fair Trade USA to certify many of the farms participating in its Learn to Grow programs.

Hershey is committed to buying 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa for all of its cocoa products worldwide by 2020. Thirty percent of all the cocoa Hershey sourced in 2014 was certified and sustainable, and the company expects to source at least 50 percent in 2015, reaching its original estimate of 40 and 50 percent certified and sustainable cocoa by 2016, a full year early.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY), headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey has more than 22,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company, which has more than 80 brands around the world that drive over $7.4 billion in annual revenues, includes such iconic brand names as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and Brookside. Hershey is focused on growing its presence in key international markets while continuing to build its competitive advantage in North America. Additionally, Hershey is poised to expand its portfolio into categories beyond confectionery, finding new ways to bring goodness to people everywhere.

At Hershey, goodness has always been about more than delicious products. For 120 years, Hershey has been committed to good business by operating fairly, ethically and sustainably to make a positive impact on society. This means contributing to a better life for its employees, consumers, communities, and ultimately, creating a bright future for children in need. This commitment is exemplified by Milton Hershey School, established in 1909 by the company's founder and administered by Hershey Trust Company. The children who attend the school receive education, housing, and medical care – thriving as direct beneficiaries of The Hershey Company's success.


The Hershey Company
Jeff Beckman, 717-534-8090


The Hershey Company
Jeff Beckman, 717-534-8090