We always emphasize fair, transparent, and free competition in all our operations. We also communicate openly with our business partners to ensure procurement and transactions fully consider society and the environment. This approach helps us to build mutual trust.
The Meiji Group Procurement Policy was established in April 2016.
We will continue providing customers with products that are high-quality, safe and secure. To this end, we will build collaborative, trusting relationships with suppliers and ensure all of our procurement activities fulfill our social responsibilities.
Raw milk is the basic ingredient used to create milk and other products. After being collected at dairy farms, this milk is transported to plants for processing. The quantity and quality of raw milk largely depends on the health and environment of the cattle that produce it. Our dairy managers work closely with local farmers and agricultural cooperatives to ensure we always have access to raw milk of consistently high quality.
We have been conducting our Value Enhancement Campaign for Drinking Milk since 2009. The campaign is designed to support continuous and prosperous development of both dairy farms and the wider industry. A key goal has been to raise consumer awareness and appreciation of the value of dairy farms. We work directly with dairy farmers to create farms that actively encourage visitors to drink locally produced milk.
As part of the campaign, we have established a system that awards accreditation to farms producing high-quality milk. Our standards for certification include the maintenance of hygienic operations and facilities and also enhancement of raw milk processing rooms and cowsheds. As of March 2016, we have accredited around 200 farms and plan to continue similar activities. We also intend to increase the number of farms producing high-quality milk. Communicating these unique efforts to consumers will help to increase the value of raw milk.
As we are engaged in the manufacture and sale of chocolate, cocoa beans are indispensable to our business. However, the supply of cocoa beans is flagging for various reasons. Given the great importance of securing safe, reliable raw materials, we support farmers and promote sustainable cocoa farming.
We mainly purchase cocoa beans from Ghana. Our efforts to help increase production include; providing farmers with opportunities to learn about cultivation technology, insect-pest control, and establishing seedling-supply centers. In addition, we assist in raising farmers' standard of living by digging wells for communities and donating desks and chairs to elementary schools. Also, we get to know local communities through children's art events, which are always successful.
Similarly, we provide farmers in Latin America with technological and financial support. For example, using our original fermentation process farmers produce high-quality cocoa beans. However, the support we can provide on our own is limited. Therefore, since 2006 we have been affiliated with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), an NPO that supports cocoa farmers. We participate in the wide array of initiatives that the WCF advances across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
We will continue supporting farmers to ensure sustainable cocoa bean production. In this way, we will procure high-quality cocoa beans and provide customers with delicious chocolate.
In autumn 2015, our personnel attended a graduation ceremony for a program to support farmers through cocoa distributors. This program is designed to increase the incomes of farmers. It includes yield-increasing methods, cultivation technology, and farm management. At the graduation ceremony, attended by 477 people, the farmer who achieved an outstanding yield received seedlings, pruning tools, and fertilizer as prizes. We gave the winning farmer Meiji Milk Chocolate as a gift.