Solidaridad formally ends first phase of Cocoa Life initiative


Solidaridad has formally ended the Cocoa Life programme’s first phase with a series of engagements in programme communities and districts across the Eastern Region of Ghana.

The five-year programme, implemented between October 2018 and December 2023, focused on supporting cocoa-growing communities in strengthening their capacities to determine and achieve their long-term goals geared to driving their economic development and prosperity.

Funded by Mondelēz International, the programme successfully trained 10,409 cocoa farmers in good agricultural practices – resulting in higher yields.

According to Solidaridad, about 4,139 (42.9 percent) cocoa farmers are practicing at least one of the additional livelihood activities – while 1,021 (53.3 percent) women who participated in the training for additional livelihoods have started or expanded their enterprises.

Additionally, 9,379 (97.2 percent) of Cocoa Life households reported having sufficient access to food throughout the year.

As at last year, farmers in the Cocoa Life communities were recording an average yield of one metric tonne per hectare. As a result, the farmers have recorded a 50.4 % increase in their average annual cocoa income per hectare.

The programme also supported ‌206 community development initiatives as outlined in the community action plans developed by the local communities. Additionally, 70 percent of these plans have been integrated into the medium-term development plans of various district assemblies.

Close-out activities

Since 22 January 2024, Solidaridad has been engaging programme stakeholders in all 122 Cocoa Life communities as well as the four districts to take stock and solicit feedback on the programme’s impact, as well as instil invaluable lessons directly from project participants (farmers, women, men, youth and children).

It also sought to identify areas for improvement in future interventions, disseminate key findings to the communities and discuss avenues for sustained collaboration.

Programme Manager for the Cocoa Life programme, Kwame Boadi Apau – at the inaugural district close-out held on 9 February 2024 at the New Juabeng Municipal Assembly, highlighted some key achievements under the programme and expressed gratitude to stakeholders for their invaluable support.

“Solidaridad under phase-one of the programme worked on two of the intervention areas – sustainable cocoa farming business and empowered cocoa communities. Through these interventions, farmers have gained knowledge and skills to improve their productivity and livelihoods.

. The Chief of Mpaem, Nana Bekoe Bismark, also underscored the programme’s significant impact.

Some beneficiaries – including Samuel Asiedu, a 61-year-old cocoa farmer from Esaase – shared testimonies that he doubled his yields from 1,280kg to 2,560kg in two years, thanks to Cocoa Life’s coaching on agronomic practices. This improvement has brought him financial stability and enabled him to support his children’s education.

Also, Patrick Newman Kortey – a youth cocoa farmer – transformed his life after joining Cocoa Life in 2019. Through livelihood training, he diversified into fish farming and snail rearing, earning up to GH¢4,200 (US$371.68) from fish sales. This programme has significantly improved his income, allowing him to provide a better life and quality education for his three children.

Rose Eyisibea used the training from Cocoa Life to start vegetable farming, earning GH¢500 a week from selling garden eggs and pepper. Her income from vegetables now surpasses what she previously earned from cocoa farming, significantly enhancing her quality of life.

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