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NEW YORK, NY --(Marketwired - February 12, 2016) - Valentine's Day is here and for many of us that means we are likely going to give, or receive, a gift that will include chocolate.
As lovers and friends are out searching for the perfect chocolate present, ideas42, the leading nonprofit behavioral science research firm, is celebrating Valentine's Day in a different way -- by shining a spotlight on an overlooked aspect of the chocolate industry, the financial health of the hard-working farmers who produce cocoa beans.
Cocoa consumption worldwide topped over $101 billion dollars in 2015, and Indonesia is the third largest producer of cocoa in the world. Yet, while global demand for cocoa beans is steadily increasing, for many Indonesian farmers, not having enough money on hand is a major barrier to investing in the tools and inputs necessary to grow their business, increase productivity and quality of cocoa, and improve the lives of their families.
"Valentine's Day is a great time to highlight the fact that behind every heart-shaped chocolate there is a story that involves a rural community in the developing world and farmers for whom every dollar has an outsized impact," says Marina Dimova, Vice President at ideas42.
ideas42 is working with Swisscontact (a Switzerland-based international development organization) to implement the Sustainable Cocoa Production Program in Indonesia, targeting 98,000 cocoa farmers, to use behavioral science to design a banking intervention that allows the farmers put away enough money to save for things like improvements to their businesses. The goal of the work is to help cocoa farmers in Indonesia open savings accounts and use them regularly to improve the lives of their families and the community.
"Farmers have good intentions to save money, but like anyone else they're prone to behavioral bottlenecks that can prevent them from following through." said Marina Dimova, Vice President at ideas42. "We specialize in finding those simple nudges that help farmers follow through and build the financial stability they need. Our work goes hand in hand with all the other efforts development specialists are making to improve lives for those around the world who produce the raw commodity for this industry."
Manfred Borer, Country Director Swisscontact Indonesia, emphasized the importance of savings, adding, "Savings are a way for farmers to build assets. It also allows them to invest in agri-inputs, paying school fees or keeping some reserves in case of emergencies."
The work will run through the end of 2016 and ideas42 hopes it can be applied to other groups and communities for whom financial stability is lacking.
ideas42 has a clear mission: to use our unique experience as a nonprofit at the forefront of behavioral science to change millions of lives. We create innovative solutions to tough problems in economic mobility, health, education, consumer finance, energy efficiency and international development. Our approach is based on a deep understanding of human behavior and why people make the decisions they do. Working closely with our partners from government, foundations, NGOs and companies, we have more than 80 active projects in the United States and around the world. Visit ideas42.org for more.
Swisscontact promotes economic, social and ecological development by supporting people to successfully integrate into local commercial life. Swisscontact creates opportunities for people to improve their living conditions as a result of their own efforts. The focus of its systemic intervention in the private sector is the strengthening of local and global value chains. Through its projects, Swisscontact works to enable access to professional training, promotes local entrepreneurship, creates access to local financial service providers and supports the efficient use of resources with the goal of successfully promoting employment and income generation. Based in Zurich, Swisscontact is active in 32 countries and has some 800 employees.
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