The Cocoa Nutrition Initiative is an initiative of the IDH Cocoa Learning and Innovation Program (CLIP) in partnership with the Global Alliance on Improving Nutrition (GAIN) that designs and validate effective models to improve nutrition of cocoa farming families in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and establish a knowledge hub for improved nutrition in the cocoa sector. The Cocoa Nutrition Initiative was launched in 2017 and runs until the end of 2020.

Food security & nutrition

Food security and nutrition is fundamental to people’s livelihood and is a universal human right. Being food secure refers to the regular availability, access and proper consumption of nutritious food. The short- and long-term effects of malnutrition include:

↗ FATIGUE                                     ↘ PRODUCTIVITY

↘ HEALTH                                      ↘ INCOME


In Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire where 60% of the world’s cocoa is produced, 20-30% of the children growing up in cocoa communities have impaired development due to malnutrition and almost half of the adult women in these communities suffer from iron deficiency anemia.

2020 vision

A thriving cocoa sector enables entrepreneurial cocoa farmers to run profitable cocoa farms and to invest in the future of their farms, families and communities. Better nourished cocoa communities are healthier, more productive and provide a more attractive prospect for the next generation of cocoa producers.

By the end of 2020, the Cocoa Nutrition Initiative will have tested models with the potential to be integrated by cocoa companies into standard business practice, with the potential to affect 1 million farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

These models aim to support the production and consumption of nutritious foods.

Focus areas

Promoting a better understanding and response to malnutrition is in the interest of the entire cocoa supply chain. This requires public-private partnerships to innovate together to identify effective models. Areas of Innovation include:

  • Diet quality
  • Early childhood nutrition
  • Water and sanitation

All within an overarching approach of improving Living Income, Diversification & Women’s empowerment

FARMER                               INDUSTRY

Productivity                              Loyalty

Health (costs)                           Future supply

Diversified income                   Reputation

  1. Commit to design and test models with cocoa farming communities and technical partners
  2. Commit to integrate tested models and tools into standard business practice
  3. Contribute to shared learning and innovation for scaled impact

Phase 1: Participatory Scoping


Collectively grow understanding of the scope and the nature of the issue of malnutrition in cocoa producing communities

Phase 2: Identification and Design


Guided by expertise from GAIN, the private sector identifies opportunities to improve diets through its supply chain. Prototype models are developed with a thorough monitoring and evaluation plan for nutrition outcomes, iterative learning, and an explicit intention and potential for scale if the prototypes prove successful

Phase 3: Adaptation and Validation


Development of prototypes is done in two stages: During the first adaptation stage components of the prototypes (such as training curricula) are developed and individually tested with target groups. During the second validation stage the prototypes selected by businesses are regularly tested and improved through a quality improvement process.

Phase 4: Sharing, Scaling and Recommendations for Continued Learning


Effective models are scaled by the private sector partners through integration in standard business practice. The Nutrition Initiative will share lessons learned, best practices and tested tools such as training curricula.

Learning agenda

Learning Area Proof of Concept
Nutrition Impact

on farmers

Experimental project designs
Business case

for farmers

Food production (consumption and living income)
Business case

for industry

Service delivery modeling



Title Type Year Regions TAF
Statement of Support: Realizing Better Food Security & Nutrition for Cocoa Farmers Commitment 2019 - -
2-pager Cocoa Nutrition Initiative Brochure 2019 - -

Contact us for more information

Partners of the Cocoa Nutrition Initiative