Dauphin County-based The Hershey Co. is expanding its CocoaLink program, which connects African farmers with cocoa crop information using cellphones, to include disease prevention and smartphone recycling to help women.
In March, Hershey and cocoa groups announced the cellphone program in Ghana. By July, 1,500 farmers signed on to receive updates about cocoa-growing techniques, plant disease and labor practices, the company said. Today, the program includes 2,500 farmers, according to the company.
Hershey announced this week it has partnered with the New York-based nonprofit Malaria No More to include malaria-prevention information on CocoaLink.
The company also is collecting 500 smartphones no longer used by its U.S. employees to be redistributed to women in Ghanaian cocoa communities.
Hershey also plans to set up solar cellphone chargers in rural villages.