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Sowing the seeds

Our nursery projects are helping farmers to access more resilient seedlings

October 16, 2017

Many of the cocoa farmers we work with in origin countries rely on ageing, unproductive cocoa trees, often without suitable inputs, finance and skills to invest in planting new trees to regenerate their farms. An affordable supply of high-quality seedlings enables farmers to regenerate their farms and improve productivity. So we are supporting a network of nurseries that grow and offer better quality, more resilient seedlings and young cocoa trees to farmers. Farmers receive technical training on best practice techniques for planting and caring for the seedlings.

In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, we are doing this in partnership with Centre National de Recherche Agronomique de Côte d’Ivoire (CNRA), Conseil Café Cacao, and ANADER. We use innovative technology to grow more resilient seedlings at 12 nurseries across the country. These now supply almost 100,000 seedlings a year and plan to supply 2 million in 2017/2018. We are on track, having already grown 1.25 million plants.

In Ghana, we are establishing four nursery sites. So far, we have produced 720,000 cocoa seedlings and we plan to grow and sell 990,000 seedlings in 2017/2018. As we are setting up rural Service Centers through our partnerships with, amongst others, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Solidaridad, we stopped producing cocoa seedlings for free as our aim is to make the project self-sufficient.

In Indonesia, we have supported farmers in establishing 63 nurseries, which have produced 229,700 seedlings to date. 82,800 of these were grown in 2017. Some of these nurseries have been developed into successful business ventures. After growing 3,000 seedlings, which we sponsored them to produce, some farmers have gone on to secure contracts with the Indonesian government.

We are also part of the Projeto Cacau Mais Sustentável (More Sustainable Cocoa Project) in Brazil which aims to foster cocoa farming among smallholders while restoring degraded areas. The project has supported the Hybrid Seed Production Center in Tacumã to double its production capacity to one million cocoa seeds every year. 150 smallholders are now farming 10,000 hectares of carefully prepared plantation land.

In Cameroon, we are working to build up the capacity of the cooperatives, to ensure they are trained on the establishment and maintenance of the nurseries as part of our sequential approach, before we begin our nursery program there.

Data highlights

203 nurseries set up and over 6,740,064 seedlings grown globally since 2013.

12 nurseries up and running in Côte d’Ivoire, which supplied 387,507 new seedlings in 2016.

Looking ahead

Around 200 more cooperatives will benefit from involvement in the Coop Academy across Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon by 2018.

Our intention is that any nurseries we create will eventually become self-sufficient businesses in their own right. We are also piloting a scheme through which nurseries will sell young cocoa trees to farmers.