Sole dependence on cocoa for income can pose a financial risk to farmers.  In the event of adverse weather conditions, or price volatility in the market, there is no fallback to safeguard revenue. In this context, it makes sense for farmers to protect their livelihood via crop diversification - but that is not always easy when their land and effort has always been dedicated to cocoa. It can feel counterintuitive to clear space for other crops that are essentially unknown.

 

An alternative approach has been trialled whereby women are equipped to diversify into fruit and vegetable farming. This has a twofold advantage: the single-crop dependency on cocoa is reduced, and women are empowered to earn an income of their own. In this way, the whole family benefits: increases in income are 11 times more likely to impact children’s welfare if they are in women’s hands than men’s.

 

In 2017, plants were distributed by Nestlé Cocoa Plan partners Cocoanect at the Koado-Dué all-female co-operative on the Côte d’Ivoire. These included seedlings for okra, aubergine, beans and peppers. 

 

The group consists of 35 women that work together on the community field.  The women produced 404kg of okra over the year which they sold at 100.600CFA (approx. CHF172), and aubergine for 20.000CFA (approx. CHF34).  

 

Due to this success, the women plan to continue to grow produce next season. They will also open a bank account to save the money they have earned to help with school and health expenses.  

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