Visit Cocoa Farmers Wieze - Greeting Scene
2015/16

Sharing the love for chocolate: From Côte d'Ivoire to the birthplace of Belgian chocolate

Barry Callebaut invited two brave female managers from Côte d'Ivoire to visit its factory and talk about their challenges on the ground.

Important role models in women’s empowerment

The visit of Mrs. Marie Zae Zea and Mrs. N’Goran née Brou Oussu is no coincidence. The two female cooperative managers belong to the key elements driving women’s empowerment in Côte d’Ivoire, the world leader in the production and export of cocoa beans. They are important role models in a country where tradition and culture still very much dictate a woman’s role in the family. Women for example face inequalities when it comes to land ownership. It is not uncommon for the cocoa plantation to be handed over to the husband’s family if he dies – leading to women losing their homes and livelihoods. 

Visit Cocoa Farmers Wieze - Discussion Scene
Mrs. N’Goran née Brou Oussu plays an important role in a country where tradition and culture still very much dictate a woman’s role in the family.

Mrs. Marie Zae Zea and Mrs. N’Goran née Brou Oussu fight these injustices. During their visit in Wieze they also shared their experiences and talked about how they want to further empower women in the cocoa industry by improving public understanding and convincing husbands of handing over parts of their land to their wives. In doing so they want to improve the livelihoods and working conditions of all women in Western Africa.

Together with its partners, Barry Callebaut takes a long-term view, working closely together with farmers to improve cocoa production practices while at the same time safeguarding the environment and addressing the social challenges in their communities. The company is convinced that such a combined approach offers the best potential to increase farm productivity, increase household incomes, and improve family and community livelihoods.

A source of great inspiration!

Barry Callebaut also actively lobbies for more women’s empowerment in the cocoa industry: women’s inclusion in training, farmer group administrative and management activities, and other business development opportunities is a key priority. The chocolate-maker also supports literacy and business skills training, and works together with women and community-based women’s groups to create income generating opportunities for them.

“Barry Callebaut is happy to have the opportunity to bring people together and providing a forum to share knowledge and expertise. Strong women such as Mrs. Marie Zae Zea and Mrs. N’Goran née Brou Oussu are a great inspiration, not only for us, but for everybody. They show that there is a way for women in the cocoa industry to be financially independent, and to be strong and proud,” says Erika De Vos, HR Director of Barry Callebaut Belgium. 

Visit Cocoa Farmers Wieze - Factory Scene
"Strong women such as Mrs. Marie Zae Zea and Mrs. N’Goran née Brou Oussu show that there is a way for women in the cocoa industry to be financially independent, and to be strong and proud,” says Erika De Vos, HR Director of Barry Callebaut Belgium.
Raphael Wermuth

Raphael Wermuth

Working as the Head of Digital Media & Publishing at in the Corporate Communications team of Barry Callebaut. Married. Father of a son. Loves outside sports such as running and mountain biking - sometimes also a pool swimmer. As a social media affluent living extensively both on- and offline. Find me also on www.about.me/raphaelwermuth.

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Your Barry Callebaut Group Contacts

Christiaan Prins
Head of External Affairs
+41 43 204 03 76
Frank Keidel
Head of Media Relations
+41 76 399 69 06​