IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and Conseil Café-Cacao (CCC) in Côte d’Ivoire have signed an investment agreement for the Farm and Co-op Investment Programme, which aims to make cocoa farmers and co-ops bankable and enable financial institutions to supply medium-term and long-term finance.
“Smallholder farmers in Cote d’Ivoire are behind commercial farming standards, even after graduating through training programmes, adopting good agricultural practices, and achieving 10-40 per cent higher yields,” said IDH. “They are still far from operating as self-sustaining entities. Smallholders need a productivity package of agro-inputs, fertilizer, crop protection and planting material. Often, they also require rehabilitation and/or replanting to realize their full potential.
“For many commercial financial institutions it is too early to invest and only a very few are willing to take the risk. The Farm and Co-op Investment Programme develops new ways to support farmers and co-op financing. Building on experience and the good work of others, the Farm & Co-op Investment Programme will focus on making farms and co-ops bankable by providing technical assistance and training and convene public and private partners, including banks, to build enabling financial systems.”
IDH said that to enable prototyping of finance mechanisms for farmers and co-ops by industry players and finCancial institutions, the Farm & Co-op Investment Programme has set up a ‘Cocoa Challenge Fund (CCF).’ Organisations in the cocoa sector with a farmer/co-op base and financial institutions can submit prototyping proposals through the CCF.