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APO International

Cultivating Hope: Ivorian Cocoa Farmers’ Path to Empowerment

todayJune 25, 2024 5

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On a misty morning in rural Cote d’Ivoire, Delphine Papo deviates from her usual routine. Instead of trekking 4 kilometers through the fog to her cocoa plantation, she’s headed to a special class. The Watté United Brothers Cooperative (SCUW) is hosting a demonstration of cocoa tree fertilization, and Delphine is eager to attend.

“I have heard from other farmers that their harvest increased dramatically after joining SCUW’s cooperatives on-farm training. I want to join today to access fertilizer, apply it correctly in my field, increase my yields, and cater better for my children”.

In Cote d’Ivoire, most smallholder farmers acquire fertilizers through informal credit, cooperatives, and microfinance institutions, driven by the hope for increased crop yields. However, improper application of these fertilizers often leads to disappointments, with harvests and incomes falling short of expectations.

Today in Watté, a suburb of the Southwestern port city of San Pedro, Delphine joined six other cocoa growers, including Etienne Bardo, for the mobile good agricultural practices training session dubbed OCP School Lab (http://apo-opa.co/4cBJ0Zw).

Under the shade of cocoa trees, with posters as blackboards and machetes and fertilizers as course materials, the class begins. The learners closely follow the instructors as they demonstrate the appropriate fertilizer doses and application techniques for cocoa trees. They also cover the recommended pruning and hoeing practices. A key point emphasized is fertilizer spreading in a circle, one meter away from the tree trunk.

Delphine and Etienne have been selected to replicate the demonstration. As they perform the steps from memory– sizing, pruning, hoeing, and spreading, Delphine has an epiphany. “Comparing how I applied fertilizer today to my old method is like comparing day and night,” she admits. “I now see what I need to change.”

This transformative experience is made possible by the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism’s (http://apo-opa.co/4bV5ftr) trade guarantee project in Cote d’Ivoire. The $2 million guarantee scheme enables farmers like Delphine and Etienne to receive capacity-building in fertilizer use and good agricultural practices. It also helps them obtain fertilizers on credit from OCP Africa (http://apo-opa.co/3zaCNW4), an international fertilizer distributor. Farmers contribute 20% upfront and pay the remaining 80% after harvest.

The initiative goes beyond just providing access to fertilizers. It equips smallholder farmers with the technical skills and know-how to enhance their yields and income. Etienne looks at his plantation with renewed hope: “My plantation has completely changed since I started applying the fertilizers from SCUW. I know my yields will improve now. I will buy a car, send my children to school, and then build my house.”

The holistic approach, combining fertilizer use with good agricultural practices, aims to improve productivity and empower farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. As an innovative financial solution, the trade credit guarantee seeks to unlock access to quality, affordable fertilizers, fostering a thriving agricultural landscape across Africa.

Please click here (http://apo-opa.co/4bV5ftr) to learn more about the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Please click here (http://apo-opa.co/4bl5ehv) to see more photos from Cote d’Ivoire’s Trade Credit Guarantee Program.

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