Living Income in Tree Crops in West Africa
Review and outlook for the project 'Living Income in Tree Crops in West Africa’ at the working meeting in Bonn.
The members of the project 'Living Income in Tree Crops in West Africa' met for a working meeting in Bonn in the beginning of October. Representatives of Fairtrade, REWE Group and INA looked back on the success of the joint project, which was launched in autumn 2019. The main aim is to support small-scale farmers at the beginning of the supply chain so that they can generate a living income. Key commodities for this are cocoa and cashew, which are grown in West Africa. Ten cocoa and cashew cooperatives in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire are to become economically independent and generate a livelihood-sustaining income for their members from the income generated by their agriculture. In addition to cash payments to the cooperatives, the project focuses on new business models, including training for farmers and an analysis of existing business practices. Last but not least, the project's raw materials will be processed into chocolate bars, which are expected to be available at REWE and PENNY in 2021.
Six experimental fields have been established for the project so far. 134 cocoa farmers were involved in the subsequent field training sessions. Numerous training courses for farmers have taken place, among other things to expand their knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting. Beekeeping equipment was distributed to groups of farmers within the six project communities involved in the beekeeping training courses.
The close cooperation between the project participants proved particularly valuable during the Corona pandemic. Measures against the spread of the pandemic consisted of distributing soap and disinfectants as well as containers for water to the cooperatives. Thanks to these measures, activities such as training and meetings could be resumed. The sanitary items not only help to minimise the risk of infection, but also give the members of the cooperative a feeling of security, as there is a great fear of social exclusion if they fall ill.
The Ghanaian Ministry of Agriculture, as a local political partner, took care of the transport and the necessary papers for the cocoa beans to be processed.
The project partners look optimistically towards the future: In Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, the members of the participating cooperatives have responded very well to the training courses. One goal for the coming months is to scale up the amount of raw materials. This is accompanied by an open mind for further project partners from industry and trade, who also want to contribute to securing living income for smallholder families.