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About 60 percent of the cocoa processed in Germany comes from the Ivory Coast. It is grown by 800,000 cocoa farmers, who generally only own up to five hectares of land.
Sustainable Cocoa Forum
Professionalization of cocoa farmers to improve their living conditions, e.g. through higher income and a more balanced diet.
Particular focus on young people and women.
Strengthening farmers' organizations.
EUR 5 million
Cocoa plays an important economic and social role in the society of the Ivory Coast. "For me, cocoa is like a treasure. It is part of our culture," says Cécile, a farmer from the Aboisso region in the southwestern Ivory Coast. "I am proud of the legacy of my parents. Because my country is the number one producer worldwide. Even if my harvest is small, I contribute something to it."
Cécile is one of more than 12,000 small farmers who are now taking part in the Pro-Planteurs project. The project was launched in 2015 by Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao (the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa), a broad alliance of private and state actors. It includes companies from the German food and confectionery industries and civic organizations, as well as the Ivorian cocoa association Conseil du Café-Cacao and the German government, represented by the Ministries for Food, Agriculture and Economic Cooperation. Pro-Planteurs aims to improve the living conditions of the 20,000 families who grow cocoa.
"Our approach combines the farm, the household, the community and political interventions."
After all, the Ivory Coast faces numerous challenges. Crop yields are suffering as a result of plant diseases, pests, inadequate or ineffective tending of cocoa plants and, increasingly, the effects of climate change. Cocoa farmers often lack quality seedlings. These and other topics are addressed through the project so as to ensure that young people in particular will be more interested in becoming farmers.
Since 2012, the price the producers receive in the Ivory Coast has been fixed by the government, which has since increased from one euro per kilogram to EUR 1.67 today. Despite everything, crop yields in the typically small plots are too low. Families who live on cocoa farming need alternative sources of income, e.g. by growing additional crops, which they can sell on the market or use to feed the family.
"Our approach combines the individual farm, the household, the community and political interventions," says Beate Weiskopf, Managing Director of Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao. "Pro-Planteurs substantially improves the productivity of the land and increases family income as a result."
The Sustainable Cocoa Forum, together with the Ivorian Cocoa Authority Conseil du Café-Cacao, has selected three cocoa farming regions for the project. Addressing women and young farmers is a major concern. They receive training in good agricultural practice from experienced trainers. The 40 specially trained female instructors advise women in matters of nutrition, cultivation and marketing of additional fruit products. In this way, women can provide their families with better services and make their own contribution to family income. By strengthening farmers' organizations, Pro-Planteurs also wants to activate its function and use it for the exchange of experience and knowledge.
So that one day not only Cécile, but also cocoa farming women like Marguerite and Aka can fulfill their hopes: "I want my children to have a good school education and hope that they will have their own cocoa plantation. So that they continue what I have started, "said Marguerite, and Aka adds: "I need support so I can help the other women in my village do something for their children."