• Country

    Côte d'Ivoire

  • Region

    San Pedro, Daregba & Colonel communities

  • Scope

    134 cocoa growing households

  • Duration

    2020-2023 (COMPLETED)

  • Budget

    EUR 529.000

In this project, partners across the value chain are implementing an integrated approach to securing a living income, working on six different parameters. Partners have jointly developed a price model that allows farmers in the project to receive the Living Income Reference Price (LIRP). The cocoa produced under this project is processed in the Boni 72% chocolate bar of Colruyt Group, a new living income bar on the Belgian market.

Project interventions

The project adopts an integrated approach to securing a living income, working on four living income drivers or six different parameters at the same time:

Price: The farmers within the project are paid the Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) of 2.2 dollars per kg. To close the gap between the farmgate price and the LIRP, the different actors in the value chain contribute: Fairtrade ensures the Fairtrade minimum price, Puratos pays the Cacao Trace premium and bonus and Colruyt pays an additional changeable living income premium. 

Productivity: the project has provided training to 102 farmers on Good Agricultural Practices, pruning, efficient fertilizer use and agroforestry, thus increasing the productivity of their farms.

Quality: The project has trained the farmers on post-harvest handling of cocoa beans and has set up two drying and fermentation centers. As such, the project has improved the quality of cocoa up to Gold Standard, so that farmers can receive the Cacao Trace premium.

Income Diversification: The project has explored intercropping cocoa with cassava & cowpea, providing live training and training video’s to farmers with a special focus on female entrepreneurship. The project has trained cocoa growers on how to produce quality compost to reduce fertiliser use on their farms, hence reducing production costs

Access to Finance: The project has set up seven Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and has trained households on accessing finance for their cocoa and non-cocoa business needs. 

Agroforestry & Reforestation: the project has, in partnership with state institutions, ensured that 100,000 trees have been planted on 1000 ha belonging to ECSP Cocoa Trace communities. The project introduced agroforestry among producers by training women in setting up nurseries, distributed shade trees among producers and an incentive of 100 CFA ($0.16) was paid to producers per surviving tree.

Following the success of the project, Colruyt Group has decided to scale the Living Income Reference Price model to its full Boni chocolate range. The chocolate will be sold in Colruyt and Okay in the course of 2024.

Impact & main conclusions

An external impact assessment by Impact Institute shows that the payment of the Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) has contributed to a significant increase of household income with 31% and an increase in revenue from cocoa with 38%. This indicates that price and quality premiums are a key driver of household income. Furthermore, the assessment showed that cocoa farmers have improved their production per hectare by nearly 20% which brings the yield to 649 Kg/Ha on average compared to 525 Kg/Ha at the beginning of the project.

The average household income of the 102 households is $3,132 for the cocoa season of 2021-2022. This indicates that farmers are earning on average 45% of the living income benchmark, which is set at $6,904 per year. Main reasons for the fact that famers reach on average 46% of a living Income is low farm size and low productivity, as well as relatively low volumes sold into this value chain. Part of the farmers involved in the projects will continue to be monitored, as some of the interventions on diversification and productivity will only have an effect on the longer term. The assumption is that the gap will be smaller if measured again in one year’s time, taking the diversification activities (for example, poultry) fully into account.

Find out more

During the Beyond Chocolate 2023 General Assembly, project lead Karen Janssens from Colruyt Group presented challenges and learnings from the project. Find the report of this event here.


Project Partners