The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) and the UK-based Mondelez R&D Ltd. have decided to renew the partnership to facilitate research and development support for cocoa cultivation and entrepreneurship in India.

The collaborative project for cocoa development, in vogue since 1987, is the best example for a successful public-private partnership (PPP) in agriculture and agri entrepreneurship. The partnership, started between Cadbury India and the KAU, has since been upscaled to an international collaboration involving Mondelez International, the parent organisation of Cadbury.

As India falls within the operational area of Mondelez, the project falls within purview of the UK unit. As per the new MoU, the project will be extended for three years from 2018, with the option of further extending it.

Under the programme, Mondelez will provide a financial aid of $2,47,000 ($69,000 in 2018-19, $89,000 in 2019-20 and $89,000 in 2020-21) for cocoa development in the country. The KAU will provide infrastructure and manpower support where as operational costs, research aid, and development of lab facilities will be provided by Mondelez.

Vice Chancellor R. Chandra Babu said the KAU was happy to sustain the partnership with Mondelez as it facilitated agricultural development and farmers’ income.

“Cocoa is a dependable intercrop that guarantees good income for farmers. It is ideal for intercropping in coconut, rubber, and banana plantations. KAU hybrids, developed as part of the existing partnership, constitute more than 90% of cocoa cultivation in India. I understand that domestic cocoa production in 2017 has touched 18,000 tonnes worth at least Rs. 360 crore. This is set for a big upscaling as more areas are being brought under cocoa with a minimum addition of 6,000 hectare per annum. The KAU is persisting with research efforts to develop new disease-resistant and drought-tolerant hybrids. Developing good agricultural practices for ecofriendly cocoa cultivation and marker-assisted breeding programme are also on the research agenda,” he said.

KAU Registrar P.S. Geethakutty, Director of Research P. Indira Devi, cocoa research unit head B. Suma, Mondelez senior manager K.P. Magudapathy, and C.Vijaya Kumar (manager, cocoa operations) were present.

Mondelez will provide $2,47,000 for three years for cocoa development in India

KAU will provide manpower support, infrastructure

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