Cocoa is risky business, with many threats to production

Cocoa companies have made strong commitments; to ensure living incomes for producers, eliminate deforestation related to cocoa production and empower women.

To go beyond commitments, companies need to work together with governments and civil society. The IDH Cocoa Program creates this supportive enabling environment. Focused coalitions of public and private cocoa stakeholders work together in our Initiatives to find business driven solutions.

For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, where 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced, the Farm and Coop Investment Program is bridging the gap between agribusiness, financial institutions, service providers and cocoa producers. The program has developed the capacity of cocoa farmers and cooperatives, while also creating innovative financial products to meet farmer’s needs. Five agribusinesses and six financial institutions have now provided 120 M EUR to 46K smallholders, through new financial products and services. An additional 140K smallholder farmers have received training and access to agri-business services.

This access to finance and services enables smallholder cocoa producers to reduce their dependence on money-lenders and helps them bridge their pre-harvest finance shortage. They can then purchase inputs, seedlings and equipment and access cash in times of need. With the right tools, fragmented and hard to-reach smallholder cocoa farmers become empowered, to go from receivers of philanthropy to sustainable and entrepreneurial business men and women.

In the Cocoa Origins Program, IDH supports Dutch companies using relatively small volumes of cocoa to invest directly in coops and farmers in origins. For example, in the Huila region of Colombia, Cocoa Origins is co-investing in traceability of cocoa from the farm through production to exportation and consumption in the Netherlands. These investments will make it easier for companies to directly invest in improving both the quality and sustainability of the cocoa produced.

The Cocoa and Forests Initiative is another example of a successful coalition of stakeholders convened by IDH. In November 2017, public and private stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana signed a commitment to no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production. In July of 2018, Colombian stakeholders also joined the commitment. National forest management plans have since been signed in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and companies are delivering individual action plans to meet their commitment. IDH manages the secretariat of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative and pilots landscape projects that balance commodity production, community inclusion and environmental protection.


  • Cocoa Nutrition Initiative

    Designs and validates effective models to improve nutrition of cocoa farming families in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana

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    Cocoa Nutrition Initiative
  • Cocoa Origins

    Supports small volume users of cocoa to get involved in sustainability projects at the origins of their cocoa supply chain

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    Cocoa Origins
  • CocoaSoils

    Improving cocoa farmers’ resilience through integrated soil fertility management

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  • The Farm and Cooperative Investment Program

    Support bankability of cocoa cooperatives and farmers, enabling them to become more professional and to invest in their farms

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    The Farm and Cooperative Investment Program
  • Cocoa & Forests Initiative

    A common vision and joint framework of action in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana eliminating deforestation from the cocoa supply chain

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    Cocoa & Forests Initiative
  • Cocoa Fertilizer Initiative

    Returning soil fertility to key cocoa growing regions in Côte d’Ivoire to limit farm expansion and deforestation

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    Cocoa Fertilizer Initiative

Facts and Figures

  • Private-sector (sustainability) investments in the program (in million euro)

    Target 2020 22.2
    Target 2017 2.3
    Result 2017 2.475447
  • Volume of sustainably produced cocoa (in metric tons)

    Target 2020 30.000
    Target 2017 10.000
    Result 2017 48.911
  • Smallholders, workers and community members trained

    Target 2020 150.000
    Target 2017 50.000
    Result 2017 48.545

Relevant SDGs

  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger
  • Gender Equality
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Responsible consumption and protection



Title Type Year
Beyond Chocolate Partnerschap Commitment 2018
SDM Case Study: Barry Callebaut & Prova, Madagascar Case Study 2018
Making cocoa farming more sustainable and profitable through access to credit for productivity inputs Factsheet 2018
Press Release- Colombia Cocoa and Forests Initiative Press Release 2018
Colombia letter of support, WCF Commitment 2018

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