MEXICO CITY— The Hershey Co. and Ecom Cocoa Group member Agroindustrias Unidas de Cacao SA de CV (AMCO), have launched a 10-year, $2.8-million plan to reintroduce cocoa growing in southern Mexico.
For the past decade, Mexico’s cocoa crop has been nearly decimated – largely by the spread of Moniliasis, a disease that attacks the fruit of the cacao tree, rendering its beans unusable.
Hershey and Ecom will provide training in farm renovation and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and will distribute disease-tolerant cocoa trees to renew 1,000 hectares of farmland.
Hershey and Ecom will coordinate the program with several government agencies in Mexico and a local NGO.
Cocoa was first domesticated and used as a food as early as 600 B.C. in the tropical lowlands of South Central Mexico by an ancient tribe called the Olmecs. Cocoa use traces back more than 2,000 years to the ancient Mesoamerica cultures of the Mayans and Aztecs, which considered it a food of the gods.