Côte d’Ivoire: Centralisation of cocoa fermentation and improved market access

A pilot project supported by the Trade for Development Centre enables Coopara to centralise the fermentation and quality control of its cocoa. The result: 70% grade 1 cocoa, the Nestlé market within reach and the interest of Belvas, a Belgian producer of organic and fair trade chocolate.

The aim of the Trade for Development Centre (TDC) is to ensure better market access for producer organisations. Twenty cocoa cooperatives, including ten in Côte d’Ivoire, have recently benefited from its support. Coopara is one of them.

The Coopérative Agricole Régionale de l’Agnéby, based in Agboville, 80 km north of Abidjan, has about 1,000 cooperatives spread over 36 departments.

It aims to meet two major challenges:

  • to handle between 500 and 1,000 tonnes/year of good quality pure origin cocoa;
  • to ensure generational succession: the ageing of cocoa producers and orchards is a major obstacle to the sustainability of production.

TDC project: centralisation of quality control

The pilot project carried out by the cooperative in 3 sections (Allany, Baguié and Kotchi Mpo), with the support of the TDC, aimed to improve and standardise the quality of production by centralizing fermentation, drying and packaging.


Cocoa in the fermentation phase at Kotchimpo. Credits: Coopara

The necessary infrastructure was built in the 3 sections and 129 people were trained in the various technical routes for the production of quality cocoa.
In addition, 3 warehouses built in the late 1970s and early 1980s have benefited from rehabilitation work, including the installation of an analysis centre with the necessary equipment (scales, pallets, tools for measuring bean quality, fermentation boxes, improved dryers).
These shops are also equipped with metal doors for greater safety because, despite the major efforts made by the government since the end of the post-electoral crisis from November 2010 to April 2011, the level of insecurity in rural areas is still high.

The result: 70% grade 1* cocoa and the Nestlé market within reach.

The project has resulted in more than 70% quality cocoa at all three intervention sites and allows Coopara to consider meeting Nestlé’s requirements and benefiting from the cocoa plan’s sustainability programme.

Centralized quality control is important for a Belgian company

Belvas, Ghislenghien’s organic and fair-trade cocoa producer, has so far not bought from Côte d’Ivoire, but the efforts of Coopara and others could change that. According to Thierry Noesen, director of Belvas, “the infrastructures set up with the TDC are suitable for quality. The bean processing system could make it possible to develop a long-term partnership and why not consider initial processing on the ground. »

* Cocoa is classified into three trading types, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Subgrade. Grade 1 and 2 cocoa is exported under the commercial name “Well fermented cocoa: GF”. Classification is based on the percentage of defective beans (*Côte d’Ivoire Coffee-Coa Board).
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