An international development consortium is to promote sustainable cocoa production systems in West Africa, to make supplies more predictable for processors and profitable for producers, easing the sector's recent price squeeze.

The partnership includes the United Nations Development Programme, Conservation International and the World Cocoa Foundation, which have been working with Mars, Hershey, Nestlé and the Alliance of Cocoa Producing Countries, among others.

These groups plan to promote crop diversification and the rehabilitation of degraded lands, while helping growers introduce technology and receive training. Current monoculture methods rely on fertilisers, encouraging pests and disease, which can destroy 30% of crops, threatening cocoa supplies.