Chocolate Company Mars and Nature Source Improved Plants hope to develop new, higher-yielding varieties of cocoa with greater disease resistance.
As part of its ‘Cocoa for Generations’ strategy, Mars Incorporated has committed to meeting its future cocoa needs through a 100% sustainable supply-chain.
The company wants to use Cocoa for Generations to invite other organisations to partner with it in a new approach that can increase farmer incomes, protect children and preserve forests, and ‘crack the code’ for a new form of modern, sustainable cocoa farming.
The company has engaged NSIP to develop new varieties with higher yields, increased disease resistance and improved quality.
Dr Steven Tanksley, Chief Technology Officer at the company, said “NSIP is excited to be providing its expertise and advanced analytical tools in this collaboration with Mars in order to develop and offer higher yielding, more disease resistant, higher quality varieties that benefit farmers and consumers worldwide.”
Dr David Mackill, Director of Genetics and Breeding at Mars, said “Developing improved varieties of cocoa through field breeding is expensive and requires decades before new planting materials can reach the farmers.
“Through our new partnership with NSIP we anticipate greatly accelerating the effort to develop new productive and disease resistant planting material for the benefit of cocoa farmers worldwide.”