PRO-PLANTEURS: Professionalising Cocoa Producers and their Organisations in Sustainable Cocoa Production
Bezeichnung: PRO-PLANTEURS – Professionalising Cocoa Producers and their Organisations in Sustainable Cocoa Production
Auftraggeber: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa
Land: Côte d’Ivoire
Politischer Träger: Ministère de l'Agriculture et du Développement Rural (MINADER)
Gesamtlaufzeit: 2015 bis 2020
The cocoa sector is one of the most important social and economic pillars in Côte d’Ivoire. But despite its central importance, the sector is insufficiently developed. In Côte d’Ivoire, cocoa is grown by around 800,000 smallholders, each with up to three hectares of land. According to a study conducted by the PRO-PLANTEURS project, their average yields are roughly 340 kilograms per hectare and therefore fall far short of the potential offered by currently recommended farming practices. Inappropriate extensive production, plant diseases and parasites as well as ageing cocoa trees in the plantations lead to production losses and low yields. Quality also varies considerably and is often inadequate for international companies that purchase cocoa.
To address this situation and improve the living conditions of the cocoa-producing families, the PRO-PLANTEURS project comprehensively strengthens and professionalises farmer organisations. Consequently, these organisations can offer members and their families access to training on agriculture and improved nutrition, as well as to attractive services, agricultural inputs and better marketing. This helps to improve farming practices and diversify production, resulting in increased income and improved nutrition for the farmers’ families. The project gives particular attention to women and young farmers.
PRO-PLANTEURS is a joint project of the Ivorian Conseil du Café-Cacao and the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, an alliance of the German sweets and confectionery industry, the German retail grocery trade, and civil society organisations with the German Government, represented by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Ivorian Conseil du Café-Cacao covers one third of the project costs.
20,000 cocoa-producing family-owned businesses and farmer organisations in the eastern and southeastern regions of Côte d'Ivoire work professionally to improve the families’ livelihoods by increasing their incomes and improving nutrition.
The project works with selected farmer organisations in three regions of Côte d’Ivoire. Its activities are divided into four priority areas:
- Strengthening farmer organisations
PRO-PLANTEURS supports the farmer organisations through training and coaching aimed at improving their internal organisation. This includes planning and control instruments such as business plans, production plans and banking books. Women are encouraged to take on more responsibility within the farmer organisations.
- Sustainable cocoa production
PRO-PLANTEURS supports the cocoa farmers through training in good agricultural practices. Farmer Business Schools provide farmers with instruction on topics including better production planning, the costs associated with improved cultivation techniques and how to use targeted investment to increase their yields and income.
The low yields of the cocoa farms are an obstacle to higher income for the farming families. Good agricultural practices and the use of selected plant material enable productivity to be increased. The aim is to increase yields by 30 per cent.
- Diversification of incomes and improved nutrition
PRO-PLANTEURS promotes diversification. The intention is to improve the families’ income through increased production of crops other than cocoa. Project activities will also focus on overcoming seasonal food shortages and on year-round food security.
- Promoting joint learning
PRO-PLANTEURS fosters dialogue among farmers and disseminates best practices and success stories.
Some 18 cooperatives participating in the project to date have completed an intensive training and coaching programme implemented by the non-profit organisation TechnoServe as part of the project. In addition, 282 managers from the cooperatives, 15 per cent of them women, have been trained to manage their organisations professionally. On the basis of the training, the following instruments are being used in the cooperatives: action plans, cost structure analysis, development and campaign plans, and gender strategy.
To sustainably improve productivity and cocoa bean quality, 5,000 producers were trained in good agricultural practices by Agence National d'Appui au Developpement Rural (ANADER) up to the end of 2017. In addition, 5,000 producers took part in training offered by the Farmer Business Schools aimed at professionalising management of rural households.
Several projects focusing on income-generating activities of women’s groups were carried out. These will result in additional, regular income. On average, additional annual gross income of FCFA 140,000 (around EUR 210) is expected for each participating woman.
Additionally, 1,600 families were trained to achieve better diversification of their income and improve their nutrition. The activities to promote diversified income were developed and coordinated jointly with the partners and will be implemented from 2018 with all cooperatives involved in the project. Cooperation with the national programme for nutrition is in place, and the content of the national programme is currently being adapted to the project.
Regular national and international workshops designed to foster dialogue between the partners have been held since 2015. The most recent event of this kind focused on 'competitiveness of cocoa cooperatives'.