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Study: Cocoa farmers’ agricultural practices and livelihoods in Côte d’Ivoire

Study: Cocoa farmers' agricultural practices and livelihoods in Côte d'Ivoire
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AFD 1er mars 2017

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Cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire has more than doubled over the last four decades, from 565 thousand tons in 1984 to approximatively 1.5 million tons in recent years. This increase has been mainly due to the expansion of cocoa areas promoted by the government since the 1970s. Today, it is estimated that more than 5 million people depend upon 700,000 cocoa growers for their livelihoods. Besides, between 2002 and 2008, cocoa was one of the few sectors whose growth proved to be ‘pro-poor’. However, cocoa farmers and their households remain very poor. This report provides rough estimate of a per capita daily cocoa income of 568 CFA Franc, which is under the national poverty line. As households largely continue to rely on cocoa income as the primary source of cash income, increasing the economic sustainability of cocoa farms via an improvement of yields is thus fundamental for cocoa farmers and households. The major challenge is to improve yields without endangering the environment. However, data and statistics on farmers’ well-being, yields, access to finance, diseases and agricultural practices are scarce, which is a serious constraint to the efficient design and implementation of programs and actions for better cocoa sustainability. To fill this gap, Barry Callebaut carried out a survey in 2013-2014 on more than 700 producers and their plots. This report presents the main descriptive statistics. It confirms that yields are low (435 kg/ha), farms are small (4.87 ha) and old (24 years old), and affected by at least one disease (mainly by stem borer and swollen shoots virus (CSSV) and mirid bugs). The barriers to yield improvements are the insufficient use of fertilizers (including organic fertilizers) due to insufficient financial means, the lack of access to finance and, for replanting, the lack of knowledge of best management practices. However, farmers still find cocoa profitable and do not envisage giving up this crop. When they receive training and means to improve their practices and yields, they are highly satisfactory, suggesting that there is room for improvement of the environmental and economic sustainability of cocoa.

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