Fairtrade helps more West African cocoa farmers with specialist training

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Fairtrade Africa trains a set of cooperative managers and farmers in solid sustainability practices. Pic: Fairtrade
Fairtrade Africa trains a set of cooperative managers and farmers in solid sustainability practices. Pic: Fairtrade

Related tags Fairtrade Cocoa Sustainability

Fairtrade International claims that more cocoa farmers are benefiting from training in key environmental sustainability areas.

The organisation released the fourth edition of its West Africa Cocoa Programme (WACP) Monitoring Report, which continued to show significant growth in training in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.

In 2023, 48,876 participants, of which 11,812 were female, 24%, participated in training. This represents a 22 percent increase compared to data gathered in 2022. 

Key training topics included human rights and environmental due diligence, deforestation, and traceability and transparency. Fairtrade said these modules are specifically designed for the West African cocoa context and are regularly updated due to the evolving cocoa landscape.  

In addition to an in-depth analysis of training, technical support, peer-to-peer learning, and sales for small producer organisations (SPOs), the report also focused on programmes and case studies.

The Fairtrade Young Cooperative Managers Academy is also active in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and provides young people with entrepreneurial skills via training, hands-on assignments, coaching, and mentoring.

Dwomor Boahene, member of Asunafo North Cooperative Union, called the academy “a life-changing experience.” Along with being elected as a member of the Supervisory Council/ Control Committee within the union, Dwomor said she has trained women in surrounding communities in what she learned, so they are now running their own small businesses and they’ve also learned how to set up savings accounts.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the Women’s School of Leadership (WSOL), a training programme aimed at improving women’s basic leadership skills and the application of human rights provisions on gender issues, is showing signs of great progress.

Since 2017, 205 graduates have gone on to share their knowledge and skills with over 10,000 community members. The Women’s School of Leadership covers topics, such as personal development, gender, leadership, income diversification, project management, strategic negotiation, financial management, and entrepreneurship

The data for the WACP report was collected through interviews with small producer organisation management and household interviews with the farmer members of those small producer organisations. 

Fairtrade International said the increase reflects the success of a “cascading” approach in which Fairtrade Africa trains a set of cooperative managers and farmers, who then bring the information back to their organisations and communities to replicate the trainings themselves.

“This expands the number of participants, while also entrenching the knowledge and skills more deeply within organisations,” it said in the report.

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