Archer Daniels Midland Company to Fund Construction of Bridges and Wells in 24 Côte d”Ivoire Cocoa Villages

The projects, to be completed by OIC International over a two-year period, include the construction of 16 clean water wells and eight small bridges with culverts.

“Working with OIC International to fund these crucial infrastructure projects is another example of ADM’s commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities,” said David Lou, sustainable development manager for ADM Cocoa in Cte d’Ivoire. “Construction of the clean water wells and bridges will lead to better health and more reliable infrastructure, resulting in improved farm incomes for 120,000 people in these communities, including 18,000 cocoa farmers who provide ADM Cocoa with approximately 18,000 metric tons of cocoa beans per year.”

The 16 wells will be installed in rural communities throughout Cte d’Ivoire to make clean water more readily available and to help reduce the incidence of waterborne infectious diseases. The wells will also lessen the burden on women who typically must travel long distances to obtain water for their families. Eight wells will be constructed in 2010 with the remaining eight completed in 2011.

Eight bridges will be constructed near rural cocoa communities to facilitate travel between villages. Six bridges will be constructed in 2010 with the remaining two completed in 2011. These bridges will also improve the cocoa bean collection and transportation processes, helping to broaden the marketing opportunities for cocoa farmers.

“Over the long term, the bridges and wells constructed through this program will also help to increase school enrollment rates for children in these areas,” said Lou. “Bridges will make it safer and easier for young children to travel to school, and ready access to clean water will improve the overall health of children in the area. The potential for increased farm incomes will also allow more families to afford to send their children to school.”

ADM grinds approximately 16 percent of the world’s cocoa crop. In Cte d’Ivoire, the company operates the UNICAO cocoa processing facility in Abidjan, two cocoa conditioning and storage facilities in Abidjan and one cocoa conditioning and storage facility San Pedro where beans are cleaned, checked for quality and prepared for export to ADM’s cocoa processing facilities around the world.

Opportunities Industrialization Centers International is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life of low-income, disadvantaged individuals in developing countries. OIC International has earned a reputation for its unique approach to creating sustainable institutions operated by local citizens, and for implementing effective programs that help disadvantaged individuals, households and communities become more self-reliant.