Côte D’Ivoire’s cocoa sector is valued at $3.58 billion annually. As the country’s number-one export and foreign exchange earner, it also represents more than one-third of the world’s cocoa supply. As a whole, the crop contributes to roughly 15 percent of the West African nation’s GDP.
Earnings from the cultivation and sale of cocoa support 3.5 million people in Côte d’Ivoire, including 600,000 smallholder farmers and their families. On average, these are producers who live on less than $2.00 per day and grow cocoa on small plots of between 2-5 ha 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 income 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 country-wide capacity to meet rising global demand and improve domestic processing operations. The Government currently maintains a goal of keeping 50% of cocoa processing in-country by 2020.
To support the cocoa sector in addressing these and other challenges, CNFA is implementing the three-year Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA).
This $14.6 million United States Department of Agriculture (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 farmers’ incomes from these high-value commodities.
MOCA will increase the productivity and efficiency of actors in the cocoa value chain by strengthening the capacity of cooperatives/producer groups, research institutions, input suppliers, and processors of cocoa.
Activities to improve and expand the trade of cocoa and cocoa products will focus on improving the overall quality of the crop, the processing and post-harvest handling techniques, and strengthening of the market linkages and organization of groups towards more adequately meeting existing market demand.
These activities will occur primarily in the cocoa belt region of Côte d’Ivoire. The project will target several groups of beneficiaries — government research and regulatory bodies working in the cocoa value chain; cooperatives and producer groups; input service providers; processors; financial service providers; mobile network operators (MNOs); transporters and other value chain service actors.
Supporting Producer Groups & Cooperatives
MOCA will support farmer cooperatives in areas including governance, management practices, human resources, financial management, service delivery, external relations with input and service suppliers and buyers, and sustainability.
Working with Government & Institutions
The project will support Government institutions to expand research and propagation of disease-resistant and improved cocoa seeds and seedlings, as well as increase farmer access to these enhanced inputs through MOCA’s grant mechanism and technical assistance facility.
Providing Business Development Services (BDS)
MOCA will deliver BDS support to cocoa processors and businesses in rural and urban areas. It will target entrepreneurs who are or who would like to launch businesses along the value chain in cocoa grinding and processing, value addition, and pooled transportation.
Facilitating Agricultural Lending
The project will partner with banks and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) to increasing producers’ access to and use of mobile money, insurance, and credit services, as well as to pilot new financial services such as crop insurance and innovative delivery channels for cash and in-kind credit.
In-Kind Grants for Equipment and Inputs
Competitive, in-kind matching grants to cooperatives, producers, input supply professionals, and processors throughout the cocoa value chain – in the form of inputs and equipment – will complement research and adoption of improved productivity and post-harvest handling practices.
Developing Agrodealers & Input suppliers
MOCA will train and establish a network of “spray-service professionals” (SSPs) — mostly male youth engaged in cocoa productivity — who will provide affordable fee-based services, facilitated
by cooperatives, for other producers.
Training on Improved Production Techniques
MOCA will develop and lead a pilot program to regenerate plantations for cocoa producers (individuals) in the cocoa belt region, prioritizing applications from women and youth.
Facilitate Buyer-Seller Relationships
Finally, the project will improve market access by targeting support to unorganized farmers, associations, and cooperatives that do not currently have formal relationships with exporters and facilitate linkages with reputable cocoa processors and buyers.