A partnership to support small holder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire is welcome news although eligibility for the programmes will need careful clarification.
That said, the country’s cocoa sector remains vulnerable to ageing trees, farmers, and a transient workforce.
Côte d’Ivoire is the leading producer of cocoa with output estimated at 1.69 million tonnes (41% of global output) in the 2015-16 season, down 6% from the prior season partly on account of dry el Niño weather.
The active cocoa contract in London is trading near $3,086 per tonne up from this year’s low of $2,754 per tonne in January.
According to official figures, Barry Callebaut was the 8th largest buyer of cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire in the 2015-16 season with almost 60,000 tonnes of cocoa purchased.
Barry Callebaut, one of the leading manufacturers of cocoa and chocolate, is partnering with the International Finance Corporation, the private arm of the World Bank, as well as the IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative. This venture, valued at USD 9million, is aimed at upgrading the skills and farm management practices of over 100,000 smallholder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire.
Barry Callebaut will provide credit to farmers in the form of inputs and farm services with a view to making farmers bankable in the medium term. Two productivity packages will be provided to farmers. The basic package will provide training while the other will provide fertilisers to professional, credit worthy farmers with trees under 20 years. Both packages will be supported by on farm individualised coaching through the company’s accredited agents.