Coming soon: The journey beyond a “certification-only” approach to sustainable cocoa production

Starting in April, IDH will be sharing insights gained over the last five years in the Cocoa Quality and Productivity Program (CPQP). CPQP has been possible because of our partners’ commitments, with investments of €15 million in public funds, matched by €37 million in private sector funds invested into the main cocoa producing countries in Africa and Asia (Cote d’lvoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Cameroon and Nigeria). These countries together produce around 80% of the world’s cocoa.

As a legacy of CPQP ends, we see the industry going beyond certification and beyond its core business of trading and processing cocoa, to investing with farmers in the profitability of smallholder farming.

The quest of CPQP to increase productivity has resulted in a ‘productivity package’ of inputs to farmers, which offers a real promise of change: through fertilizer, through finance, through training and coaching, and through the commitment of dedicated partners. The story does not stop with CPQP however, the next challenge is already clear, making the productivity package accessible and affordable to farmers.

Measuring increases in yield alone does not consider the additional investments needed to achieve higher productivity: the costs of which may outweigh benefits if the risks are too high. Therefore, the sector needs to shift its focus to increasing farmer’s profitability, not only increasing cocoa yield, but the total financial health of the farm; a true measure of a farmer’s well-being and ability to continue growing cocoa. To understand the profitability of a farm, and the effect its cocoa crop has on that profitability, we look at the costs of inputs, the income generated from all crops on the farm, and the health of the farming family.

In this upcoming series, we invite you to dive into weekly stories, lessons, and facts from our journey in CPQP, —we’ll explore the cornerstones of the productivity package, which are: Good Data, Service Delivery Models, Finance, Fertilizer, and Training. We’ll shed light on the roles played out by the public and private sector as they have begun to address issues of yield, farmer profitability, access to finance, and strengthening farmer organizations. We’ll dive deep into topics at the heart of improving cocoa sustainability.

The stories we’ll share are designed to inspire and encourage reflection: to document best practices and create fertile ground for further learning and innovation. The coming series offers a look back at the achievements—and the challenges—of CPQP. And, a look forward towards the future, as the work continues to ensure the productivity package is accessible, affordable, and attractive to the next generation of cocoa entrepreneurs.

Check back to discover over five years of insight into enabling cocoa farmers to bring better yields and a living income from their land: in the journey beyond a “certification- only” approach to sustainable cocoa production.