The vast majority of the world’s cocoa comes from small-holder producers in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. Small holder cocoa production is characterized by low use of inputs, low investment and low yields, resulting in low incomes.
As demand for cocoa continues to increase and the land for new cocoa is limited, the challenge in cocoa farming today is to boost yields and make cocoa farming an attractive and sustainable livelihood for farmers in the future. ECOM believes that through its programs, like the one demonstrated by its agronomy division Akwacao in Ivory Coast, yields can be significantly increased by improving agricultural practices, use inputs and rehabilitation of farms.
Combined with the right training, demonstration, and access to inputs, farmers can transform their farms into productive and profitable livelihoods for the long-term.
ECOM’s initiatives for sustainable cocoa focus on training farmers in good agricultural practices but also on implementing an effective traceability system that allow better knowledge of suppliers and the opportunity to develop the right interventions. In order to convince the farmers of the value of their extra efforts to rehabilitate their farms, ECOM is creating widespread demonstration sites. ECOM believes the old adage “seeing is believing” is the best way to engage farmers. In parallel, ECOM also work on strengthening the farmers’ organizations and especially training their management on the importance of transparency and bringing added value to its members. This focus should include providing access to inputs, credits and on a long run, better planting material. Child labor is seen as a critical and recurrent issue in the industry, so ECOM also includes youth protection in its training modules.
In order to achieve such an ambitious program, ECOM strongly believes in partnership and open dialogue with all members of its supply chain.