Mars Inc. has partnered with agricultural analytics company Nature Source Improved Plants (NSIP) to accelerate development of new cacao varieties with greater yields, better disease resistance, and improved quality.
“Achieving a 100% sustainable supply-chain will not be an easy task—especially since the cacao crop will increasingly compete with other crops such as oil palm and rubber for available farmland,” writes NSIP in a press release. “Improved agronomic practices will help achieve this goal, but alone will not be sufficient. The key will be to significantly increase the genetic potential of cacao to produce higher yields and improved quality on the same or even less farmland.”
According to NSIP, it is focused on maximizing genetic performance via a unique pipeline of new breeding technologies based on genomics, operations research, and other advanced fields of mathematics and computer science.
“Developing improved cacao varieties through field breeding is expensive and requires decades before new planting materials can reach the farmers. Through our new partnership with NSIP we anticipate greatly accelerating the effort to develop new productive and disease resistant cacao planting materials for the benefit of cocoa farmers worldwide,” said David Mackill, director of genetics and breeding at Mars, in the NSIP press release. “Using science to improve the productivity of cocoa is just one of the many ways we’re bringing to life our Mars Cocoa for Generations strategy.”
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