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Oscar-winning actor Ben Affleck is using his celebrity to help impoverished cacao farmers in Africa to improve their lives by building a relationship with American chocolate makers, he tells CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH Charles Osgood.
“This isn’t really even aid – this is free market, this is investment,” Affleck tells correspondent Seth Doane in an interview to be broadcast on CBS SUNDAY MORNING, today, Dec. 2, 2012 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. “This is really one of the best ways to invest in Africa – in the developing world – where they have untapped resources, untapped potential. And when they do and we’re able to partner them with the markets, you see real growth.”
Doane traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo with Affleck and Seattle chocolate factory owner Joe Whinney to see how increased crops of cacao, which is used to make chocolate, are helping the country. Whinney was convinced by Affleck to pay three times more than the going rate for his cacao from the region as a way to give back.
“I was reading and I just sort of stumbled upon some of these statistics and I was struck, not only by the numbers, but the fact I hadn’t heard about it,” Affleck says.
In a country torn by civil war, cacao is known a safe investment, because the beans aren’t usually stolen by rebels and are worthless without the processing, which turns them into chocolate, Doane reports. Whinney’s Theo Chocolate sells a $5 Congo bar of chocolate made with the beans harvested from the region. “We’re trying to make sure that there’s a connection between The Farmer and the consumer,” Whinney says.
Doane’s full report will be broadcast today, Dec. 2, 2012 on CBS SUNDAY MORNING (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.
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