INA in West Africa - Higher income for smallholders
At the beginning of agricultural supply chains there is usually a small farm. In order for the work to be worthwhile, it must be able to feed at least one (large) family well. The project ‘Living Income in Tree Crops in West Africa’ aims to ensure just that. INA, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), REWE Group and Fairtrade are working together to achieve this goal.
Which cultivation system is the most economically viable? Is a mix of tree crops (e.g. cocoa and cashew, peanut and mango) more profitable than putting everything on one card? Which cultivation practices buffer risks? What will climate change do? These questions are at the heart of the project with a total of ten smallholder cooperatives from Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire that grow cocoa or cashew.
The aim is to achieve economic independence for the cooperatives. Their members should be able to earn so much through their work that they and their families can live well from it in the long term. To this end, the project partners are focusing on farmer business schools and the promotion of good agricultural practice. But that alone is not enough. The project also addresses the consumer side and enables higher prices for some farms.
A fair chocolate is a good example: Livelihood-securing income in a supply chain
One component of the tree cultivation project is a fair, traceable supply chain: cocoa farmers of the Ghanaian cooperative Fanteakwa receive a monetary premium equal to the Fairtrade Living Income Reference Price Differentials in addition to the Fairtrade premium and -minimum price. The cocoa's journey from the cooperative to the chocolate bars on the shelves of REWE and PENNY can be followed. Starting in spring 2021, REWE and PENNY will sell different varieties of Fairtrade chocolate bars in Germany. The chocolate will also be gradually introduced in REWE Group's international sales lines.
Strengthen cooperatives - gain independence
The second part of the project goes beyond the Fanteakwa cooperative. With a total of ten cocoa and cashew cooperatives in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, the project partners are working on ways to achieve economic independence. The aim is for the members of the cooperatives to generate an income that is not only sufficient for food, but also for education, housing and insurance. Together with the Ghanaian Ministry of Agriculture, farmer business training courses are offered. They provide the tools for a culture mix that adapts to climate change, for good risk management and quality improvements.
Project partners for living incomes
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched the project 'Living Income in Tree Crops' in autumn 2019 together with Fairtrade and REWE Group. Local partners are the Ministry of Agriculture in Ghana, the Cashew and Cotton Board in Côte d'Ivoire and the Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew). ComCashew is supported by numerous companies and governments and is represented in six African countries. The project's main raw materials are tree fruits such as cocoa and cashew.
Extending influence: Bridging the Gap
The more companies that participate, the more we can move the sector and the sooner the gap between current income and a living wage can be closed. This in turn must not be at the expense of natural resources. If your organization or company is interested in cashew, cocoa or another tree fruit from West Africa, INA would be happy to see more contributors. The project gains influence through scaling. Please do not hesitate to contact us.