Responsible Fertilizer Training

We are helping farmers in Côte d’Ivoire to increase productivity through responsible fertilizer use

October 13, 2017

Fertilizer must only be used when soils have been prepared properly and it needs to be used well. Too much can disturb the nutritional balance of the soil and create a vicious circle in which farmers use more, to less effect. It can also endanger human health and exacerbate climate change, because its use produces greenhouse gases.

To ensure farmers use fertilizer the right way, we run the Cacao Allyie initiative, in partnership with Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and Louis Dreyfus Commodities (LDC). Farmers learn how to assess their farm’s suitability for fertilizer and how to apply it correctly when the time is right. Cacao Allyie starts with farmer cooperatives, who buy fertilizer on credit at affordable rates every month and then sell to farmers for immediate payment, or on 30-day credit terms. Alternatively, to reduce the financial risk to cooperatives, farmers can pay for their fertilizer through a savings scheme.

This year, 54 cooperatives bought a total of around 2,300 MT of fertilizer, resulting in 8,500 ha of land that is now being farmed using fertilizer through Allyie (up from 786 in 2015).

The next stage in the Cacao Allyie journey to better yields and profitability involves training and application. Farmers who buy fertilizer receive a training “image box” – a simple cartoon sequence that explains how to prepare their land for its use, choose the right weather conditions and apply it correctly. This advice ties in with their training at Farmer Field Schools.

We are also measuring and evaluating the impact of the Cacao Allyie program, by running two demonstration plots – one farmed using good agricultural practices, crop protection and fertilizer, the other without fertilizer as a control. These demonstration plots have also been used to train farmers on the techniques required to use fertilizer effectively.

Data highlights

8,500 ha of land is now being farmed using fertilizer through Allyie.

39,060 farmers trained to use fertilizer correctly in Côte d’Ivoire, an increase of 9,060 since 2015/2016.

49% increase in yields achieved by farmers in Côte d'Ivoire applying fertilizer and crop protection correctly. This translates into a 22% increase in cocoa farmers’ net household income.

Looking ahead

Today, we reach 15% of fertilizer users whose farms are fertilizer-ready. We hope to reach 20% of these fertilizer users by 2018/2019, and to deliver half of their fertilizer needs through Cacao Allyie, to ensure proper usage.
 

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