Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa sector is valued at $4 billion annually. As the country’s number-one export and foreign exchange earner, it also represents more than 40 percent of the world’s cocoa supply. As a whole, the crop contributes to roughly 15 percent of the West African nation’s gross domestic product.
Earnings from the cultivation and sale of cocoa support five million people in Côte d’Ivoire, including an estimated one million smallholder farmers and their families. On average, these farmers live on less than $2.00 per day and grow cocoa on small plots of between two to five hectares with low or declining productivity.
These smallholder cocoa farmers have limited capacity to increase the amount of quality beans they can sell, which would otherwise be a viable means of increasing their incomes and improving their livelihoods. This is of great concern to the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, which is engaged in its own efforts to strengthen the country-wide capacity to meet rising global demand and improve domestic processing operations. The Government currently maintains a goal of keeping 50 percent of cocoa processing in-country.
To support the cocoa sector in addressing these and other challenges, CNFA is implementing the three-year Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) from 2017 to 2021.
This $14.6 million USDA Food for Progress activity focuses on increasing the productivity and efficiency of actors in the cocoa value chain. It also seeks to expand the trade of cocoa and cocoa products by improving the quality of crops on existing Government-designated farmland, all towards boosting farmer incomes from these high-value commodities.
MOCA increases the productivity and efficiency of actors in the cocoa value chain by strengthening the capacity of producers, cooperatives, producer groups, input suppliers and processors of cocoa.
Activities to improve and expand the trade of cocoa and cocoa products focus on reducing losses during production, harvest and post-harvest by increasing access to quality inputs and services; enhancing production, harvest and post-harvest handling techniques; strengthening market linkages; and facilitating access to finance and financial services for producers and cooperatives to more adequately meet existing market opportunities.
These activities occur primarily in the cocoa belt regions of Côte d’Ivoire, where MOCA works with 24 cooperatives and 9,000 producers, input service providers, local processors, financial service providers, exporters and U.S.-based chocolatiers.
- Supporting Producer Groups & Cooperatives: MOCA supported farmer cooperatives in areas such as cooperative governance, general and financial management practices and systems, human resources management, access to finance, service delivery, external relations with input and service suppliers and buyers, gender integration and sustainability.
- Working with Government & Institutions: MOCA closely coordinated its activities with the Conseil Café et Cacao (CCC) and used the expertise of Côte d’Ivoire’s Agence Nationale d’Appui au Développement Rural (ANADER) and Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA) to provide services to farmers and cooperatives.
- Providing Business Development Services (BDS): MOCA delivered BDS support to over 30 cocoa entrepreneurs and cooperatives in rural and urban areas in business planning, market linkages, capacity building, environmental awareness and the establishment of businesses and business infrastructure.
- Facilitating Agricultural Lending: The Activity partnered with six banks, micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and financial service providers to increase over 3,500 producers’ access to and benefit from the use of mobile money, insurances and credit services to pilot new financial services such as crop insurance.
- Providing In-Kind Grants for Equipment and Inputs: MOCA awarded 12 in-kind grants valued at $350,000 to entrepreneurs and cooperatives throughout the cocoa value chain in the form of agricultural inputs and equipment.
- Developing Agrodealers & Input Suppliers: In collaboration with OLAM, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Jacobs Foundation, MOCA established five spray-service professionals’ units (SSPUs). These SSPU’s provide 125 mostly male rural youth opportunities to engage in cocoa service provision. They also provide affordable fee-based services facilitated by cooperatives for other producers. MOCA also established a network of Farm Service Centers (FSCs) in partnership with Callivoire/UPL. These FSCs improve smallholder access to quality inputs and equipment in MOCA’s zones of intervention and further develop collaboration between producers and agrodealers through improved training and training spaces by these input suppliers.
- Training on Improved Production Techniques: MOCA provided training and pruning tools to 9,000 producers through a network of 170 lead farmers from over 20 supported cooperatives with the objective of increasing production and reducing losses due to black pod disease. MOCA also worked in close collaboration with Guittard Chocolate and producers from two cooperatives to produce quality flavor cacao. The first container of quality flavor cacao beans resulting from this initiative was exported in February 2021.
- Facilitating Market Relationships: The Activity partnered with the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) to increase awareness around quality flavor cacao opportunities in Cote d’Ivoire. MOCA also supported the ambitions of two cooperatives to access new market parties and directly export their products.