Ivory Coast – Improving agricultural, social and environmental practices through training and organization
ECOM’s agronomy division in Ivory Coast, Akwacao, was established in 2009 and now employs 40 farmer organization administrators and agronomists and over 200 farmer trainers. As part of its training programs, Akwacao is creating widespread demonstration farms to let farmers see first-hand the value of pruning and grafting. In partnership with Rabobank International Advisory Services, Akwacao is working to strengthen the management and governance of 20 cooperatives. Together with the NGO Solidaridad, Akwacao is experimenting with models to organize farmers for training and certification.
Conditions in Ivory Coast are challenging, and these ambitious initiatives are only possible in partnership. Partners include World Cocoa Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DEG, Rabobank Foundation, Solidaridad and the Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH, together with a number of private partners. These partnerships can consist in co-investment or transfer of innovative technologies.
Thanks to the intensive hands-on effort, ECOM has so far succeeded in supporting and certifying (UTZ and Rainforest Alliance Certified) 22 farmers’ organizations. In total that represents about 10’500 farmers directly registered in the ECOM program, reaching in total close to 85,000 beneficiaries.