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16 November 2012 | Adam Leach
The Coca-Cola Company has provided training for almost 40,000 African farmers within its supply chain through a scheme to increase the amount of juice it can source.
Through ‘Project Nurture’, which it is running in partnership with NGOs Technoserve and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the company is investing $11.5 million (£7.2 million) over four years to train and support mango and passion fruit farmers in Uganda and Kenya. In its latest Global Reporting Initiative report published this week, the company revealed it trained 40,000 farmers, of which 17,000 were women, during 2011.
It also reported 18,000 tonnes of fruit from participating farms has now been sold. For the company, supporting and developing the farmers enables it to increase security of supply for fruit juice. The scheme is closely entwined with its goals of tripling its fruit juice business by 2020 and also supporting the growth of women owned businesses across the world.
“Our business will benefit from procuring locally produced fruit, lowering our costs and increasing supply chain flexibility. The program has established a goal of ensuring that by 2014 at least 30 per cent of participating farmers will be women,” the report said.
Overall, the company aims to “enable the economic empowerment” of five million women across its value chain. So far it has supported 131,000.