Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production


Launched in 2009, the three-year, $2.9 million Commercial Strengthening of Smallholder Cocoa Production (CSSCPP), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2009-2012), aimed to stimulate capital investment and enhance the lives of farmers in the Ghanaian cocoa business. CSSCPP promoted improved production techniques and increased access to inputs, finance and crop diversification. Through the use of strategically designed matching grants, the project also leveraged $5.8 million in private investment.

CNFA, in collaboration with the National Cocoa Producer Association, Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union and Chemico Limited, provided support to cocoa farmers through training, certification programs, land tenure and association development.


  1. Improved Association Development: To promote more convenient access to inputs, training, finance and collective marketing, CNFA supported farmers in organizing into groups, clusters and associations, allowing for better service of the maximum number of farmers through project activities to give farmers easy access (within six kilometers) to products and services.
  2. Developed Integrated Warehouse: CNFA collaborated with agro-input suppliers and farmer associations to build model pilot mini-warehouses to serve cocoa producers. Each mini-warehouse had two separate areas: a cocoa buying and certification area operated by local buying companies, and a room for the producers to use for association meetings, trainings and other events. A small, independent agro-dealer shop selling agro-inputs (seeds, fertilizers and crop protection chemicals) was typically located nearby. By offering inputs for many crops rather than just cocoa, these agrodealers encouraged crop diversification.
  3. Improved Technical Capacity and Certification: Farmers and agro-dealers received technical training on cocoa production. In addition, demonstration plots and farmer field days organized with input suppliers encouraged crop diversification and improved cocoa production practices. After determining the cost-benefit tradeoffs of various certification schemes, the project provided information and training for farmers who chose to secure internationally recognized certifications like Fair Trade, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance. As a result of project training and certification services, beneficiary farmers’ yields increased by 189% and incomes increased by 309%.
  4. Stimulated Capital Investment: CNFA conducted an extensive study of land tenure issues as they impact the cocoa industry, focusing on the impact on the very small-scale producers, women and sharecroppers. In addition, CNFA piloted land-titling training for landowners and worked with financial institutions to pilot new credit and crop insurance to mitigate farmer risk.