For 2016/2017, the global production of cocoa is estimated at 4.7 million metric tons. The world cocoa price has continued to be the lowest since 2013 (market prices of cocoa dropped by 30% in early 2017). Over 70% of global production comes from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and  deforestation remains an important threat that needs to be addressed. Additional threats to cocoa sustainability include smallholder production and resilience, the effects of climate change, and weak environmental protection in the areas surrounding cocoa production.

Impact Focus

Market transformation

The IDH Cocoa Learning and Innovation Program (CLIP) aims to make cocoa farming a more sustainable livelihood option for farmers. It drives innovation in farmer empowerment, community development, nutrition, multi-cropping to improve resilience against price volatility and sustainable land use/zero-net deforestation. Through prototyping projects – co-developed with the industry–  transformational approaches can be replicated and scaled, to transform the sector.

CLIP focus areas are: 

Farm productivity and financing: Through the Farmer Coop Investment Program (FCIP), IDH puts emphasis on improving farmer entrepreneurship and farmer organization’s professionalism, by facilitating access to inputs and finance to invest in their farms and services. Joint financial contributions from the Conseil Café Cacao in Côte d’Ivoire (€2 million) and IDH (€3 million) kicked off the program in 2017.

Community development in nutrition: CLIP supports a scientific, fact-based prototyping approach for the issue of malnutrition. Industry and civil society have taken initial steps to improve the nutritional value of diets in the cocoa-producing communities. The aim is to further stimulate these approaches over the coming years, to be able to provide clarity on the most cost-effective inter- ventions ready for scaling.

Sustainable land-use/zero-net deforestation: The Cocoa & Forests Initiative was set up as a partnership between IDH, WCF and ISU, to end deforestation and restore forest areas in the cocoa supply chain of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. On 16 November 2017 at the UNCCC, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana signed commitments into frameworks of action, with members of the cocoa and chocolate industries. Financial support for this pro- cess was received by the P4F. These joint frameworks of action are structured around three interlinked pillars: forest protection and restoration, sustainable production and farmer livelihood, and community engagement and social inclusion.

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KPI Progress 2017

  • Change in Business Practice - Private Sector Investment Ratio

    Target 2020 1
    Target 2017 1
    Results 2017 1
    IDH has worked with its private sector, to prototype projects that increase farmer’s adoption rates of good agricultural practices. By coaching farmers, the percentage that adopted/ implemented all good agricultural practices rose from 26.6% to 44.3%. To help farmers overcome the financial burden of replanting trees that are plagued with disease, IDH established a loan and technical advice systems with Ecom. Farmers in the program are supported with intercropping of plantains and maize to provide income in the period before the new cocoa starts yielding. IDH is also working with its private sector partners to establish digital finance channels, that meet the needs of cocoa farmers’, despite the remoteness of farming communities. This is a key step to foster further access to finance for farmers in cocoa and other commodities.
  • Change in Sector Governance - Satisfaction about the effectiveness of multi-stakeholder processes

    Target 2020 (not set) 0
    Target 2017 (not set) 0
    Results 2017 8
    In 2016, Conseil Café Cacao agreed to commit €2 million to the newly established Farm and Coop Investment Program. This is an achievement only made possible by the strong convening role IDH has had over the last year as secretariat of the Cocoa Fertilizer Initiative in Côte d’Ivoire. The engagement of Conseil Café Cacao in the Farm and Coop Investment Program implies a strong public commitment to the program, and strengthens its influence on policy development and potential to institutionalize its outcomes in the long run.
  • Field Level Sustainability - Number of producers/workers/ community members trained

    Target 2020 30
    Target 2017 4
    Results 2017 6
    Under the FCIP, IDH not only improved the skills of farmers, but also linked them to financial institutions, enabling them to invest in their farms. The focus goes beyond cocoa, to all farm activities, as farmers in Africa are multi-croppers; the program helps them to invest in their whole farm. The program also helps them to organize the non-cocoa markets for inputs and other crops, i.e. fruit trees and rubber.

The trees that I prune and where I apply fertilizer are in much better shape. You can see the difference clearly. They keep the sun out so the land does not degrade.

Gnanbo Konan Lazare, Cocoa Farmer in Côte d’Ivoire

Relevant SDGs

  • 1 No Poverty
  • 2 No Hunger
  • 5 Gender Equality
  • 8 Decent Work & Economic Growth
  • 12 Responsible Consumption

Gender focus

IDH, Advans and CARE supported the establishment of Villages Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), which bring females in cocoa communities together weekly to trade advice on developing capital, saving in bank accounts, and asking for loans. At each meeting, they discuss business investments. Originally the scope of investment was only input loans, but now they are investing in trucks, mobile banking and insurance.

Initial explorations were made on how to engage the Ivorian National Federation of Women Cooperatives within the Farm and Coop Investment Program. A baseline study was initiated that shows the potential for investments and female empowerment.

Building on the IDH gender toolkit, a gender sensitivity guide is in development. This will provide direction to the program’s investments, to ensure gender equality in terms of ownership, access, decision making, leadership positions and division of labor.

Lessons Learned


It is difficult to promote productivity in producing countries in the current context of cocoa low prices. The sector therefore needs to work harder on the cocoa farmers’ resilience by assisting them with diversification of income sources.

New generation

It is urgent to promote the emergence of a new generation of cocoa entrepreneurs who can integrate all the new paradigms facing the sector, such as climate change/deforestation/investment in cocoa production to improve the sector.

Digital tools

Bankability and digitalization are musts in the cocoa sector, to secure farmers’ incomes and improve their security. During cocoa season, the digitalization of financial transactions will increase security by reducing the handling of cash. IDH will therefore introduce digital tools in rural economies.

Focus Countries

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Côte d’Ivoire

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