Fairtrade Cocoa Farmers Investing in Change: New Report on Fairtrade Cocoa in West Africa
Fairtrade cocoa farmers in West Africa are investing in their farms, crop infrastructure and communities – but they need deeper, long-term partnerships to drive change. Thus concludes a new report ‘Fairtrade Cocoa in West Africa’ released today by Fairtrade International and Fairtrade Africa.
The report reveals Fairtrade certified cocoa farmer organizations chose to spend 36% of their Fairtrade Premium on projects to increase the productivity of members’ farms and the quality of their cocoa – far above Fairtrade International’s suggested 25% minimum. Fairtrade provides defined premiums of US$200 per tonne paid directly to farmers' organizations and managed at the sole discretion of farmers via their general assembly.
ECOOKIM cooperative tackled the issue of moulding cocoa by investing their Fairtrade Premium in training for members on Good Agricultural Practices including fermentation and drying processes, in storage warehouses and in upgraded drying racks. Nine in ten of their members now deliver cocoa of the quality for the international market.
“When farmers are strong and organized, when we have income and investment, we solve problems,” says Chief Adam Tampuri, Chair of Fairtrade Africa.
Farmers’ organizations spent 21% on other collective projects, including community projects, direct farmer benefits, and cooperative strengthening. CANN cooperative rebuilt two primary schools that had been lying in ruins – now 200 students attend at one site alone.
Finally, Fairtrade cocoa farmers spent 43% on cash payments to members. This is nearly two and a half times the Fairtrade average, highlighting the high levels of poverty in West African cocoa-growing communities.
But the report does not only celebrate the successes of Fairtrade farmers. It also includes some very direct messages from producers to industry:
“We need more long-term agreements for sourcing,” says Mamadou Savane, Sustainability Manager of ECOOKIM cooperative, quoted in the report.
“Every year we wait to see how the sales for the season will turn out and this makes it difficult to plan well, to ensure consistent delivery of programs for our members and to make continuous improvements. We want to work in long-term partnership with our end-clients and have them actively participate in our development path.”
For more information please contact: Reykia Fick, Media Relations Manager, Fairtrade International: +49 172 541 6076, firstname.lastname@example.org