Côte d’Ivoire is a top cocoa producing country. The TDC has supported cocoa producers’ organisations in the region since 2016.
COOPARA was established in 2000, 80 km north of Abidjan. This organisation supports 639 cocoa farmers in the region with the production, processing and marketing of their cocoa. COOPARA aims to secure the future of cocoa production by focusing on sustainability. The farmers face serious problems: ageing plants, poor quality of cocoa and a thinning farmers’ population.
The organisation therefore launched a project with the TDC to improve the quality of cocoa and standardise production. The farmers receive training in cocoa bean fermentation, drying and storage processes and the various steps are centralised. This is a major change because it did not exist in the region!
Three pilot projects were launched and 70% of cocoa has already achieved quality grade 1*. COOPARA now meets the requirement of Nestlé’s sustainable Cocoa plan. And interest for sustainable cocoa is increasing in Belgium too. Belgian chocolatier Belvas, which produces fair trade and organic chocolate, did not source cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire to date, but COOPARA’s efforts could change this.
* Cocoa is classified in three commercial categories. Grade 1 and 2 cocoa is exported under the label ‘Good fermented: GF’. Classification by grade is based on the percentage of defects in beans – Source: Conseil Café-Cacao de Côte d’Ivoire.
After two years of coaching with the consultant Dominique Derom, the results are extremely positive for the Yeyasso cooperative. “We have evolved a lot,” confides its director Yeo Yessongbananan Moussa, and, to say the least, it shows!
As part of its marketing coaching programme the TDC currently accompanies eight cocoa cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire. One of these is SCINPA (Société Coopérative Ivoirienne de Négoce des Produits Agricoles), which was established in 2003 in Agboville, just north of Abidjan. With its four buy – in sites SCINPA is a trustworthy partner reaching 3000 members in the region. The cooperative has progressed much and has built quite some trust over the years, for instance by investing in community projects such as schools and water pumps and because it has always defended the interests of farmers even during political turmoil. SCINPA has one major customer: Cargill. It co-sponsors Utz certification and the farmer field schools.
A pilot project supported by the Trade for Development Centre enables Coopara to centralise the fermentation and quality control of its cocoa. The results: 70% grade 1 cocoa, the Nestlé market within reach and the interest of Belvas, a Belgian producer of organic and fair trade chocolate.