Trade for Development Centre is a programme of Enabel, the Belgian development agency.

Enabel, Yeyasso’s first Belgian partner 

At the World Cocoa Conference held in Brussels from 21 to 24 April, Yeo Moussa, Director of the Yeyasso cooperative, spoke about the support provided by Enabel’s Trade for Development Centre. He was speaking on a panel entitled “Policy Approach of the Belgian Development Cooperation for Sustainable Cocoa Supply Chain”. 

“Yeyasso is a coffee and cocoa cooperative based in Man, in the west of Côte d’Ivoire. We have 5,000 cocoa producer members with a production capacity of 5,000 tonnes. Enabel’s Trade for Development Centre was the first Belgian partner to support us from 2016 to 2022. The aim of the support was to build the capacity of organisations such as Yeyasso to improve their communication and strategy, and to analyse their financial data, so that the cooperatives can implement initiatives that have a positive impact on the living conditions of their members.” 

“By analysing its data during the coaching, the Yeyasso cooperative realised that there was a shortfall in income, that we were not getting a return on the volumes sold in the conventional market. This was an opportunity for us to work towards Fairtrade certification, a certification that brings added value to the producer cooperatives. In 2020, when the certification was obtained, and thanks to the support of Enabel, we were put in contact with Fairtrade Belgium and Chocolaterie Galler (…). Galler has committed to purchase 20% of our volumes under Fairtrade conditions. This chocolate manufacturer has made a long-term commitment to Fairtrade in order to improve the lives of people in cocoa-producing countries, in this case those of the Yeyasso cooperative.” 

“Other projects enable us to improve the living conditions of local communities by involving women in income-generating activities. And this 20% has increased the income of 20% of our cocoa farmers by 13%. These initiatives by Belgian players are to be welcomed and encouraged. They should be extended to a larger number of producers so that the impact is greater for all cocoa farmers. If we could scale this up nationally, we could impact more lives.” 

“With this 20%, the cooperative has been able to carry out community initiatives, such as the construction of a maternity hospital to improve health care for mothers and children.” 

“We have also been able to obtain funding from the King Baudouin Foundation, which has enabled us to develop agroforestry, as advocated by the “Conseil Café Cacao” at national level, in order to restore forest cover and promote biodiversity, because without forests there is no cocoa.”   

“These various initiatives help producers to get a fair price so they can benefit more from the fruits of their labour. Producers are willing to commit to sustainability, but what do they get out of it? If there’s no fair price, there’s no point. We need to campaign to get the chocolate industry to commit to sustainability and pay producers a fair price, which will also allow cooperatives like Yeyasso to look seriously into the future by initiating projects that will have a lasting impact on the lives of cocoa farmers.” 

-Copyright heading: Yeyasso
-Copyright photo Yeo: Samuel Poos   

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