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Overcoming the barriers for women in cocoa farming

Working with Kellogg, ASDA and other partners on projects to understand and help overcome the barriers for women in cocoa farming communities in Côte d'Ivoire

January 01, 2016

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, women historically have not had the support needed to grow from subsistence farming to smallholder production and beyond. 

“Côte d'Ivoire is the largest cocoa-producing country in the world, yet estimates shows only 4% 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”
Taco Terheijden, Director, Cocoa Sustainability at Cargill

We are working with Kellogg and ASDA on projects to improve understanding of how gender barriers may limit access to skills, information and inputs amongst women in cocoa-growing communities.

“Supporting women farmers not only directly benefits them, but it also creates a positive ripple effect for their families and communities,” said Diane Holdorf, Kellogg Chief Sustainability Officer. “We’re working to close the gender gap between the number of women working in the cocoa farms and those receiving training.”

“ASDA recognizes the crucial role that women play in the production of cocoa. It is important that their voice is heard in the discussions on the future of cocoa. This may be the first time the supply chain from retail shelf to food manufacturer to processor and the farmer have come together on gender issues,” said Christopher Brown, Senior Director Sustainable Business, ASDA Store.

Gender sensitization training program

The partnership has supported the first gender sensitization training program for 100 regional agents from ANADER (Côte d'Ivoire’s national agency for rural development). These agents are responsible for training cocoa farmers in local communities.

Cargill 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 2015, raised awareness of gender issues and provided practical steps for the agents to implement in their day-to-day activities. These steps are being cascaded throughout the organization.

“The inclusion of women in training sessions and fully recognizing 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”, 
N'Dry Florence, Chef de Zone, Dabou at ANADER

Situational analysis project

We are working with CARE on a situational analysis to gain further insights into the real barriers preventing women cocoa farmers from attending cocoa field schools.

“CARE’s research will help identify the specific barriers to women’s participation in training in order to make recommendations on how we can support people and industry to integrate a gendered approach to cocoa trading,” said Helene Gayle, CARE President and CEO. “We look forward to working in partnership to enable these women to reach their full potential.”

Female-only training

We are funding 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 program.

The training will focus on teaching better agricultural practices, support cocoa tree nursery development as an income-generating activity, provide business skills training, and improve literacy.