A large share of cocoa is produced by small-scale farmers on small farms. The farmers’ lack of access to know-how, service providers, and financing makes them vulnerable to price volatility and increases their dependence on intermediaries, further reducing their already low income.
Comparable to our approach in coffee, our project activities in Côte d’Ivoire combine effective farmer training with the strengthening of farmer groups and the transition of a cooperative into a key service provider. The central idea is to develop strong and independent farmer organizations that can interact with other components of the supply chain at eye-level. The core concept was implemented by supporting farmers of one cooperative that demonstrates characteristics of many other cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire, and can therefore serve as a pilot.
We proceed on several levels:
at the individual level: we strengthen both technical as well as managerial capacity of the farmers through direct trainings. This happens by means of building up Farmer Field Schools (FFS), where farmers learn through demo plots how to increase efficiency and the quality of their production as well as farm management tools.
at an organizational level: we build the capacity of the farmer cooperative by giving them access to tools that improve their performance, management skills, and allow them to act as service providers to cooperative members.
at the macro level: we share results and insights of our work with other stakeholders, actively promoting sustainable development in the Ivorian cocoa sector.