FCC Online Courses 2020

27-07-2020

Which to impart first?  The good news or the bad?  I shall start with the bad, as I always think it better to leave on an upbeat note.

The bad news is that we, at the FCC have had to announce the cancellation of our courses traditionally held at Rashleighs, namely: Introduction to Cocoa and Introduction to Contract and Arbitration.  This is because the Business Centre at Rashleighs recently announced its permanent closure at the end of September this year.  For those who had attended the annual week-long FCC courses at the Business Centre will recall the very pleasant rural setting, convenient for Heathrow, London and Reading which allowed students to gather and learn about cocoa and contracts and then to relax with colleagues the cocoa business.  It was a unique venue offering a particular experience, made especially so by the staff at the venue being so attentive and understanding.  We shall miss it.

Now the good news.  The courses will continue.  They will occur at the same time as was previously arranged – 12th to 16th October this year and will offer exactly the same panel of speakers as originally advertised.  This will occur without the students having to leave their place of work or home (if there is a difference during these troubled times) as they will be held online.

One of the benefits of holding such online courses during office hours in Europe is that, although not entirely convenient, it is possible for those in parts of Asia and the eastern coasts of the American continents to attend.  For those in west Africa the time difference is minimal, so those producing 70%+ of the cocoa grown together with the largest block of cocoa consumers (Europe) we are able to offer courses which are not only relevant but at time period during the day convenient for most.

There are some aspects of the courses which will be a different.  The field trip to the University of Reading (“UoR”) will not be possible, nor the practical of the quality assessment of cocoa beans; however, it is intended to fill these experiences with video sequences of the work being carried out at UoR as well as virtual visit to the Quarantine Station.  For those who are unaware, the Quarantine Station is hosted by UoR and is unique for being the only one located in a temperate zone.  A video demonstration of the quality assessment of cocoa beans is also planned.

Now for some more good news.  There was a natural limit to the number of attendees at Rashleighs.  This is now less of a restraint and we are able to accept many more students.  While this number is larger than the 30-plus we were able to accept at Rashleighs, it is not unlimited; so those who may wish to attend who have not already registered, I suggest you may review the content of the courses and register now by visiting the course page of our website and completing the online registration forms. 

More good news?  Yes.  The cost of attendance is slashed to half of that which we had to charge for Rashleighs.  So, from a company’s point of view: the cost of attendance means that two people may be registered for the original price of one; the cost of travel and accommodation and the downtime of students having to travel to and from the venue is also not incurred.  Not an insignificant sum.

Some may still consider the price to be too high.  For those who think that, I would like to remind them that the cost of ignorance can be far higher than the price of attending these courses.  In my position as FCC Secretary General I frequently see that cost in arbitrations being served.  Naturally the price is cheaper for members of FCC and when spaces for the courses become limited, preference will be made to accommodate students from member companies.  In these economically troubled times for those who are non-members who are involved in the international trade of cocoa beans and/or cocoa products, either as a trader or providing services, it may be a prudent economic decision to consider joining the FCC.

Finally, the good news is that if you register or consider joining the FCC you will have to deal with my excellent staff; the bad news is that you may have the misfortune to talk to me…

Stay well.

Robin Dand
Secretary General
The Federation of Cocoa Commerce Ltd.
27th July 2020

CANCELLATION: FCC 2021 Cocoa Dinner

03-06-2020

As we’re sure you’re already aware, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has meant that it’s now vital to limit social contact and avoid gathering. For that reason, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 FCC Cocoa Dinner. Whilst we appreciate that this may be very disappointing news we count on your understanding that the safety of the cocoa community is our top priority at this time.

Message de Mr. Robin Dand - L'importance d'un bon départ.

20-07-2020

La plupart des activités bénéficient d'un bon départ.  Les enfants dont les parents sont consciencieux ou les jeunes qui sont pris en charge dans des conditions contrôlées et à des fins bénéfiques sont plus susceptibles de mieux résister à tout ce que l'avenir leur réserve.  Il en va de même pour la durée de vie d'un contrat portant sur des biens physiques.  Un tel contrat, clairement conçu dans l'esprit de l'acheteur et du vendeur (les parties) et correctement écrit et administré, a de meilleures chances de concrétiser leurs intentions.  Des termes mal formulés ou des intentions contractuelles mal conçues ou confuses sont davantage susceptibles d'entraîner le mécontentement de l'une ou des deux parties contractantes.

Fort heureusement, dans l'environnement du commerce international du cacao, les achats et les ventes de fèves de cacao peuvent être effectués par le biais de formulaires abrégés de contrat de la Federation of Cocoa Commerce Ltd, la FCC.  Ces formulaires (disponibles gratuitement sur le site web de la FCC) incitent les parties à aborder les clauses requises pour conclure un contrat avec succès.  Aborder la question d'une clause pertinente est, en effet, un début, mais ne peut peut-être pas être considéré comme un bon début, car il faut convenir de ce qu'il faut dire dans chaque clause et de la manière de le faire.

Que faire ?

L'aide est maintenant à portée de main car je suis ravi d'annoncer la disponibilité du premier module du programme de formation en ligne de la FCC.  Ce premier module aborde directement les problèmes rencontrés par les parties qui cherchent à exprimer leurs intentions contractuelles a l’aide du contrat physique de la FCC relatif aux fèves de cacao en utilisant les contrats abrégés. 

Comme le nom du premier module l'indique,

« Formation du Contrat & Exécution du Formulaire Abrégé du Contrat pour le Cacao en fèves »

ceux qui vont acquérir des connaissances à travers ce module auront une meilleure possibilité de s'assurer que leurs intentions soient à la fois bien formulées et exprimées.  Il se peut également que ceux qui suivent le module apprennent que les expressions laxistes involontaires placées de manière inappropriée dans le formulaire peuvent avoir des conséquences coûteuses, soit en arbitrage ou par la suite devant les tribunaux, et que, par conséquent, il vaut mieux les éviter.  Éviter ces problèmes signifie un meilleur accord contractuel, car mieux adapté dès le départ, qui donnera suite à un résultat plus probable.

Il y a maintenant donc moins d'excuses pour les parties de convenir de contrats physiques sur les fèves de cacao à des conditions incomplètes, trompeuses ou inappropriées, qui, si elles sont ignorées, risquent de causer à leur contrat un début médiocre et une fin potentiellement coûteuse.

Ce module est-il uniquement destiné à ceux qui conviennent de clauses contractuelles ?  La réponse est non, définitivement non - les informations contenues dans ce module sont également essentielles pour tous ceux qui participent à l'exécution du contrat physique relatif au cacao.  Une meilleure compréhension des termes du contrat par toutes les parties concernées contribuera à sa bonne exécution.

Ainsi, un bon démarrage de la vie d'un contrat physique relatif au cacao signifie moins de malentendus entre les parties, ce qui réduit la probabilité d'un arbitrage ; et surtout, cette réduction des potentiels malentendus améliore la relation entre l'acheteur et le vendeur, une question délicate dans le meilleur des cas, et garantit que le prochain contrat entre les parties se déroule sans rancœur.

L’inscription à ce cours est disponible sur le site web de la FCC et est initialement disponible en anglais, la version française devant être lancée dans les prochaines semaines.  Une brochure donnant de plus amples détails ce module et des modules futurs est disponible dans la section Online Education du site Web de la FCC. 

Une fois ce cours terminé avec succès, le participant recevra un certificat FCC qui pourra être ajouté à son CV et sera un élément que les employeurs pourraient bien rechercher chez les candidats à la recherche d'un emploi.

Je suis très heureux que la communauté du cacao dispose de ce nouvel outil pour aider à assurer le bon démarrage d'un contrat de fèves de cacao et je vous recommande à tous de vous inscrire, tout comme j'ai hâte de vous informer des prochains modules éducatifs de la FCC.

FCC Online Education - The Importance of a Proper Start

20-07-2020

Most activities benefit from having a decent beginning.  Offspring benefiting from conscientious parents, or seedlings nurtured under beneficial controlled conditions are likely to be better able to withstand whatever comes later in life.  So it is with the life of a contract for physical goods.  Such a contract, clearly conceived in the minds of the buyer and seller (the parties) and properly written and administered has a better opportunity of delivering their intentions.  Poorly expressed terms of ill-thought or confused contractual intents are more likely to result in unhappiness in one or both of the contracting parties.

Fortunately in the world of internationally traded cocoa, purchases and sales of cocoa beans are able to be conducted on Federation of Cocoa Commerce Ltd, the FCC, Short Form Contracts.  These forms (available for free from the FCC website here) prompt parties to address the clauses required to make a successful contract.  Addressing a relevant clause is indeed a start, but perhaps cannot be considered as a proper start, as what and how to say in each clause has to be agreed.

What to do?

Help is now at hand as I am delighted to announce availability of the first module of the FCC Online training programme.  This first module addresses directly the issues faced by parties looking to express their contractual intentions in an FCC physical cocoa bean contract using the Short Form Contracts.  As the name suggests of the first module:

Formation of Contract and Completion of a Short Form Contract for Cocoa Beans

those who gain information from the module will have a better opportunity of ensuring their intentions are both properly formed and expressed.  It may also be that those following the module will learn that unintentional lax expressions placed inappropriately in the form may have expensive consequences either at arbitration or subsequently at law and are therefore better avoided.  Avoiding these issues means a better and proper start to the contractual agreement becoming a more likely outcome.

So now there is less of an excuse for parties to agree physical cocoa bean contracts on incomplete, misleading or inappropriate terms, which if ignored consigning their contract to an undistinguished start and potentially an expensive end.

Is this module only for those who are agreeing contract terms?  The answer is no, a definite no – the information here is also essential for all those involved in the execution of the physical cocoa contract.  The better the understanding of the contract terms by all involved will help its smooth execution.

So a proper start to the life of physical cocoa contract means fewer misunderstandings between the parties thereby reducing the likelihood of arbitration; and importantly that reduction in potential misunderstandings helps the relationship between buyer and seller, a delicate matter at the best of times and ensures that the next contract between the parties occurs and occurs without rancour.

The booking for this course is available from the FCC website and is initially available in English, with the French version to be launched in the next few weeks.  A brochure explaining more about this and future modules is available on the online education section of the FCC Website. 

A successful completion of the course will enable the student to be awarded an FCC Certificate, something to be added to the individual’s CV and something employers may well be seeking in candidates looking for employment.

I am so pleased that the cocoa community has this new tool to help ensure the proper start of a cocoa bean contract and I commend it to you all to enrol as much as I look forward to informing you all of subsequent FCC educational modules.

Stay well and trade successfully.

Robin Dand
Secretary General
FCC

 

COVID-19 Update: Remote Working

02-06-2020

UPDATE: FCC COURSES POSTPONED

31-03-2020

The 2015 FCC Cocoa Dinner

20-03-2020

The 2015 Dinner was held on the 15th May 2015 at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London W1K 7TN.

The Dinner brought together around 980 people from the international cocoa community including key influential guest speakers such as the Vice-Presidents of  the Republic of Ghana and Indonesia. 
The theme of the 2015 Dinner was "West meets East" with focus on West Africa as the world's leaders of cocoa producers and the growing importance of Asia to the global economy.  See here full Programme.

 

We would like to extend a heart-felt thank you to our Sponsors for their generous support and commitment to making this event so successful.

      

The 2015 Cocoa Dinner was linked with a fund raising initiative for the SOS Children's Villages medical centre in Asiakwa, Ghana in order to help meet the running costs of the medical centre and enable over 1000 people in Asiakwa with treatment that could make the difference between life and death for them.

See here update on the SOS Children’s Village Asiakwa, Ghana – Medical Centre: SOS Children's Villages medical centre in Asiakwa

 

The Future For Cocoa

18-05-2018