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Unleashing the Potential of Cocoa Households to Earn a Living Income

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan (NCP) Elite programme aims to unleash the potential of a small selection of cocoa farmers and learn from them about how the programme can be expanded to help more farmers earn a living income. KIT assists Nestlé in understanding how successful this programme currently is and how it can be scaled up.

Earning a living income is elusive for most cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire 

Only a small segment of cocoa-growing households in Côte d’Ivoire earn a living income. These households are typically male-headed, have >4 hectares of productive cocoa land, and produce approximately 1 metric tonne/hectare. Collectively, they represent only 1% of all cocoa-growing households in the country (according to UTZ Cocoa Action survey). 

Programme participants

The elite farmer programme is designed to provide tailored support to educated and motivated farmers, particularly those that show a willingness to try new techniques, plant seedlings, and who attach high importance to growing cocoa. Most of these farmers are selected by the cooperative leaders and the NCP. The original aim was to attract younger farmers (< 45years) and farmers who own a large plot of land (>10 hectares). These criteria were only partly met.

Currently, the elite farmer programme involves 70 cocoa farmers, most of whom are between the ages of 40 and 50 years old, a somewhat higher average age than expected. In terms of plot size, the average is nearly 12 hectares – with 6.5 under cultivation – although younger farmers typically have smaller plots of land. All of the farmers were literate.

As part of the programme, these farmers take part in a one-week intensive training that covers the following topics: (calendar) planning, entrepreneurship, family/household training, mind-set training, economics and diversification. 

KIT’s support to the programme

This research project aims to learn from NCP elite farmers and their households and identify the pathways that could help a larger proportion of NCP farmers achieve a living income. 

So far, KIT has performed a cluster analysis using data from NCP and suppliers to explore the profile of the elite farmers. This will guide the next phase of the research, which will include quantitative and qualitative methods during field work.


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