Cocoa Life Ghana
Cocoa-farming communities in Ghana are benefiting from increased yields and bigger profits thanks to our ‘Cocoa Life’ partnership with Mondelēz International
The global demand for cocoa is increasing. This represents an opportunity for cocoa farming communities in Ghana – a country renowned for its quality cocoa produce. However, factors such as outdated farming methods have resulted in low yields. In some cases production is estimated to be just 40% of its potential size.
Improving cocoa production
Across our first 100 Cocoa Life communities, yields have increased by an average of 37% and income by 49%. (2009-2014)
Cocoa Life, a programme run in conjunction with partner, Mondelēz International addresses the issues behind low cocoa production - enhancing farmers’ abilities to capitalise on global demand and so access a sustainable source of income.
To do this Cocoa Life focusses on:
- Training farmers on good agricultural practices
- Improving access to markets to enable farmers to sell their produce at a better price - such as through the formation of cooperatives
- Increasing financial literacy
- Supporting the creation of Community Savings and Loan Associations
- Supporting people to generate income through micro enterprises
- Empowering communities to lead their own development by implementing community-focussed action plans
As well as working with smallholder cocoa farmers to sustainably increase production. We work to increase opportunities for women and youth. This is done through:
- Training women on farming, business management and leadership skills
- Developing young people’s skills to improve employability
Improving knowledge, increasing yields
Ghana’s cocoa produces some of the world’s best chocolate, but farming methods are often outdated and inefficient. Our training, conducted by expert volunteers, has helped reach over 160 cocoa-growing communities to date.
The training on sustainable agricultural methods has seen dramatic results. With yields increasing by 37% and farmer income up by 49% across the first 100 Cocoa Life communities (2009-2014).
“I want to encourage the youth to see how cocoa has helped me and how, through cocoa, I can now support my family and my children are at school. It is a good business if you run it in the right way.”
Prince – Cocoa farmer and ‘Cocoa Ambassador’
Through diversification communities can get involved in additional income-generating activities outside of cocoa farming - reducing vulnerabilities to external shocks. Training covers a wide range of topics including livestock-rearing, maize-growing and making crafts for sale.
Furthermore, the programme has facilitated the formation of Village Savings and Loans Associations across the communities it works with. These associations give members access to financial services, allowing them to save profits and borrow to invest in their own businesses.
In the last two years, there has been a total of 24 Village Savings and Loans Associations, with 680 members.
Helping communities drive their own development
In 2017 community action committees were inaugurated and trained. As a result of the training, committees begun pursuing basic community challenges such as:
- improving school infrastructure
- improving health facilities
- improving toilet facilities
- improving water facilities
- addressing the lack of skills needed to create income earning opportunities.
A Total 235 community action plans have been initiated in 2017.
Farming families now have better incomes, and more control over their financial futures. Communities have seen direct benefits from their investments in projects like schools and roads.
Cocoa Life programme locations:
We are currently working in Eastern, Brong Ahafo & Ashanti Regions
Statistics quoted from Cocoa Life 2015 Progress Report and VSO Ghana Country office reviews 2013-2015. View Cocoa Life 2015 Progress Report (pdf)
Case studies from Cocoa Life:
Making the dough: Women in Ghana on baking for a better future
VSO and Mondelēz International, one of the world’s largest confectionary companies, are equipping women farmers with training and support to start their own business enterprises. Two women share the story of how Cocoa Life has given them more independence.
- Mondelēz International
- Child Rights International
Partner with us
If you are interested in partnering with us, we'd love to hear from you.