Entry: Marisa Yoneyama, World Cocoa Foundation
The WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP) is a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 16 WCF industry members that was formed in 2009 to increase the livelihoods of approximately 200,000 West and Central African cocoa farming households. This program reaches farmers and improves their income through three main components: improving marketing efficiency, improving cocoa production efficiency and quality at the farm level, and improving famer competitiveness on diversified cocoa farms. The third goal specifically includes business and marketing training for farmers, as well as the establishment of business service centers as a resource for farmers.
WCF/CLP partner GIZ works with the agriculture extension agencies of the national governments of Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria to provide Farmer Business School (FBS) training to cocoa farmers. Over 60,000 farmers have been trained since 2009, including 13,000 women. Following up on the good agriculture practices training, FBS focuses on the principles of farming as a business – cost benefit analysis of cocoa and other crops, planning the yearly cropping and cash in / cash out calendar, and diversification and marketing of various crops. Observed changes made by FBS graduates to date include registering new farmer organizations, opening group bank accounts for savings and credit, and maintaining a financial calendar for farm and household revenue and expenditures.
Farmers who have been trained through Farmer Business School have reported the following positives:
“I had been doing business without bothering about what goes out and what comes in, I had wasted my effort and time not knowing what I was doing, henceforth, I will take records of all that I do”….. R.E. Okokhuo FBS, Edo State
“We have formed a taskforce to ensure that all members in our group comply with spacing and pruning practices on their farms and recommended post-harvest methods. We have all agreed that defaulters will be fined”….. P. N. Wula FBS, Cross River State
Training farmers to properly care for their farms to improve productivity as well as training farmers to be more effective in the marketplace leads to increased incomes, which in turn, leads to greater purchasing power for the household including buying food for their families and school fees and supplies for their children. This good work would not be possible without the partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as our members: Archer Daniels Midland Company, Armajaro, Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill, Ecom Agrocacao, Guittard Chocolate Company, The Hershey Company, Kraft Foods, Mars Inc., Noble Resources S.A., Olam International Ltd., Petra Foods Ltd., See's Candies, Inc., Starbucks Coffee Company, and Transmar Commodity Group Ltd.
Session on financial management in Nigeria.
Photo credit: GIZ