Today, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation and Indonesia will sign an agreement that will make a significant difference in the lives of cocoa farmers. This agreement brings together a consortium of private businesses that will join us in funding more than $15 million in grants to sustain the cocoa sector and increase the incomes of farmers and processors in this sector.
Combining public and private funding drives sustainable development. Public resources alone will not get the job done. Direct investment from the private sector increasingly surpasses development assistance, 7 to 1.
So collaborating with the private sector is key to reducing poverty and generating economic growth—and, in this case, provides three major benefits.
First, this agreement allows us to help cocoa farmers, including those of you here today, produce more. We will help you improve the way you farm—to protect the land and other natural resources you need to farm not just today but also well into the future. The training we will fund will help more than 58,000 farmers in 14 districts adopt more environmentally friendly agricultural practices that will increase crop yields. Together, we will increase farmer productivity and cocoa quality, while protecting natural resources. This means more income for the people here – more money for farmers to support themselves and their children.
Second, this agreement will improve the welfare of all cocoa farmers—including women—so they can be productive and profitable. Women, on average, make up 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, and they play a huge role in Indonesia’s agriculture economy. That’s why our partnership agreement includes—and requires—the active participation of women and vulnerable groups. In fact, half of the total training will benefit women who run small cocoa farms, along with others from vulnerable groups.
Finally, this agreement with the private sector brings Indonesia and the United States even closer to advancing our common goals. This agreement is just one component of MCC’s $600 million compact with Indonesia. Our partnership is built on shared values—on supporting and sustaining economic growth and development that generates stability and opportunity in this region of the world and beyond.
MCC looks forward to seeing the fruits of this partnership, and to seeing everyone involved fulfill the promise of this agreement.
Thank you so much!