Fairtrade West Africa Cocoa Programme Monitoring Report Shows Growth In Farmer Training


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London — The fourth edition of Fairtrade’s West Africa Cocoa Programme (WACP) Monitoring Report shows significant growth in training in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. In 2023, a total of 48,876 participants, of which 11,812 were female, participated in training. This represents a 22 percent increase when compared to 2022. 

The monitoring group says the increase reflects the success of a “cascading” approach in which Fairtrade Africa trains a set of cooperative managers and farmers, who then bring the information back to their organizations and communities to replicate the trainings themselves. This expands the number of participants, while also entrenching the knowledge and skills more deeply within organizations.

Key training topics, the report states, included human rights and environmental due diligence, deforestation, and traceability and transparency. These modules are specifically designed for the West African cocoa context and are regularly updated due to the evolving cocoa landscape.  

In addition to an in-depth analysis of trainings, technical support, peer-to-peer learning, and sales for small producer organizations (SPOs), the report focused on programs and case studies. The Fairtrade Young Cooperative Managers Academy, active in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, provides young people with entrepreneurial skills via training, hands-on assignments, coaching and mentoring.

Dwomor Boahene, member of Asunafo North Cooperative Union, called the academy “a life-changing experience.” Along with being elected as a member of the Supervisory Council/ Control Committee within the union, Dwomor has trained women in surrounding communities in what he learned, so they are now running their own small businesses and they’ve also learned how to set up savings accounts.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the Women’s School of Leadership (WSOL), a training program aimed at improving women’s basic leadership skills and the application of human rights provisions on gender issues, is showing signs of great progress.

Since 2017, 205 graduates have gone on to share their knowledge and skills with over 10,000 community members, according to  Fairtrade. The Women’s School of Leadership covers topics, such as personal development, gender, leadership, income diversification, project management, strategic negotiation, financial management, and entrepreneurship.

Fairtrade states that cooperatives have a critical role in the sustainability and growth of the cocoa sector. For this to happen it is important that the farmers who belong to the cooperative participate in and trust the cooperative. In 2023, 99 percent of Ghanaian farmers interviewed, and 92 percent of Ivorian farmers thought different opinions could be raised in their cooperative.