2006 Symposium on Cocoa

February 9-10, 2006

The National Academies

2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Symposium Overview:

On February 9-10, 2006, leading world scientists convened at The National Academies in Washington, DC to explore the latest scientific advances in cocoa research. Building on the first-ever cocoa symposium held at The National Academies in 2004, the 2006 symposium brought together a multi-disciplinary international group of scientists from the public and private sectors to discuss groundbreaking cocoa research, from its potential to improve public health to its role in preserving the tropical ecosystems where cocoa is grown.

The symposium hosted more than 300 people from various sectors, including academic institutions, research organizations, NGO’s, federal government and industry. Some of the research highlights included:

Epidemiological findings suggested that flavanol-rich foods, such as specific cocoas, could provide an unexpectedly large benefit in the management of the two most common causes of death in today’s world: cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Presentations highlighted new opportunities for cocoa to provide social, economic and environmental benefits to the millions of farmers who depend on this unique crop for their livelihoods. Every year, many cocoa farmers lose a third or more of this fragile crop due to pests and diseases – or simply because of a lack of appropriate training, the use of rudimentary farming techniques or other challenges.

The symposium also featured more in-depth discussions on cocoa-related aspects of plant and biomedical science, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, medicine and anthropology, along with roundtable discussions on issues facing the cocoa-growing regions of West Africa, East Asia and the Americas.