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Cargill, Kellogg and ASDA team up to empower women in cocoa farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire

26 June 2015  •  Author(s): Victoria White

A series of projects to understand and help overcome the barriers for women in cocoa farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire has been launched by Cargill, Kellogg and ASDA.

cocoa farming

Women farmers represent nearly half of Africa’s agricultural workers, and are critically important to developing the full potential of African agriculture and food security. However, they historically haven’t had the support needed to grow from subsistence farming to smallholder production and beyond. In cocoa farming, women are involved in activities such as planting seedlings, collecting cocoa pods, transporting, fermenting and drying cocoa beans. Often their role is unrecognised as they balance household work with farming and have unequal access to training, inputs, and education.

“Côte d’Ivoire is the largest cocoa producing country in the world, yet estimates shows only four percent of cocoa farmers are women. With support from Kellogg and ASDA, we’re aiming to better understand the barriers to women in cocoa farming communities and initiate activities that give women the access to training, support and education to improve their own and their families’ livelihoods”, said Taco Terheijden, Director, Cocoa Sustainability at Cargill.

Gender sensitization training programmes are already taking place

The projects aim to improve the understanding of how gender barriers may limit access to skills, information and inputs amongst women in cocoa growing communities including:

  • a gender sensitization training programme for Anader agents (Côte d’Ivoire’s national agency for rural development)
  • a situational analysis, with help from CARE, to gain further insights into the real barriers preventing women cocoa farmers from attending cocoa field schools 
  • funding of a specific female-only training for up to 1,000 women farmers to help them improve their agricultural and business skills, supported by the African Cocoa Initiative, a World Cocoa Foundation led programme

The partnership has already supported the first gender sensitization training programme for 100 regional agents from Anader who are responsible for training cocoa farmers in local communities. Cargill currently trains over 70,000 Ivorian cocoa farmers through its network of 1,800 Farmer Field Schools with the support of Anader. The three-day training, completed in April, raised awareness of gender issues and provided practical steps for Anader agents to implement in their day-to-day activities, which are being cascaded throughout the organization.

“The inclusion of women in training sessions and fully recognising the contribution they make in cocoa production is an important element for the production of cocoa quality and improving the living conditions of their families”, commented N’Dry Florence, Chef de Zone, Dabou at Anader.

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