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Empowering cocoa farmers and cooperatives

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The role of the cooperative

A cooperative groups together the cocoa farmers for the collection and commercialisation of their products. Ivorian cocoa farms are small (1 to 2 hectares) which means that the farmers cannot individually sell their goods. The cooperatives job consists of better structuring the farmer’s activity.

A cooperative example … ECAG

Interview with the Chairman of the board, N’Dri Faustin:

1. What is the Chairman of the Board’s role in a PACTS Centre?

“The Chairman of the Board is the spiritual father of the cooperative and its members. He guides and assists the cooperative in their decision-making and must also supervise the general running.”

2. How have the cooperative and its members benefited from the PACTS programme?

The project has significantly improved the farmers’ incomes, thanks to the project’s practice of paying better prices for cocoa and from a farming point of view this should ensure the future of cocoa farming for the next generation.

3. What problems have the farmers experienced?

At the start it wasn’t easy because it meant changing habits and mentalities of a lifetime, a particularly difficult thing to do in rural areas, but also because the farmers were extremely sceptic as to the success of the project. However, thanks to the numerous awareness sessions that took place, everyone involved in the certification process, as well as the farmers, are now totally motivated and apply and adhere rigorously to the project’s activities.

4. What are their motivations?

An improvement in their lifestyle is one of the main motivations along with better purchase prices and bonuses, but also, for example, one particular training session that taught the farmers about the dangers of using pesticides.

The farmers not only learnt some practical advice, but were also made aware of certain conditions that can affect their everyday life.