Cocoa Life partnership

A cocoa farmer in Ghana prepares cocoa beans for drying in the sun

A sustainable future for cocoa farmers

Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire supply 60% of the world’s cocoa and 90% of production is on small farms of 2-5 hectares. Despite significant growth in cocoa output and trade, many farmers and their communities still live on less than £1 a day.

Cocoa farming is demanding, labour-intensive work, and with volatile prices producers don’t earn enough to pay for essentials such as farm inputs or school fees. Younger people don’t see cocoa farming as a viable way of earning a living, and are leaving the farms to find work in the cities. The older people are left behind to carry the burden of cocoa farming: the average age of a cocoa farmer is now 56.

Breathing life into cocoa farming

These development challenges also threaten the sustainability of the vital cocoa supply for chocolate companies like Mondelēz International – one of the world’s largest confectionery companies.

Mondelēz International recognised that the best way to ensure sustainability was to see poor people as vital stakeholders in their long-term success by putting farmers and communities at the heart of their supply chain. So in partnership with CARE and others, Mondelēz established the Cocoa Life programme, aiming to support a sustainable supply chain while enhancing the livelihoods and resilience of 200,000 farmers, and thereby improving living conditions for one million people in cocoa-farming communities.

Watch this short video to find out more about how Cocoa Life works:

We are currently working with Cocoa Life in over 150 communities in Côte d’Ivoire and have supported 76 communities in Ghana through the Cocoa Life programme, helping people all along and around the value chain.

We work with communities to promote better access to agricultural inputs; encourage the adoption of good agricultural practices (including environmentally-friendly techniques) through better extension services and demonstration farms; strengthen farmer organisations (eg cooperatives); find new crops and new jobs to diversify the local economy and make the communities more resilient; and increase access to financial literacy and financial products and services. We also work to assess the social and economic needs of rural cocoa growing communities in Indonesia.

Working in partnership with organisations like CARE, we are creating a vibrant, strong cocoa supply chain while transforming the lives and livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities. – Cathy Pieters, Cocoa Life Program Director, Mondelēz International

Promoting gender equality in the value chain

By ignoring the role of women, many global value chains are missing out on the opportunity to improve quality and increase productivity. In the cocoa sector cocoa farming is viewed as a ‘male’ activity in most countries but in reality it’s the women who do a lot of the work that is critical to productivity and quality of final output. So we place special focus on addressing the key challenges faced by women in cocoa farms, within their communities and at the household level.

In 2016, Mondelēz International commissioned CARE to undertake a research project which assessed the current role of women in the cocoa value chain and supports Mondelēz International’s ambition of mainstreaming women’s leadership in Cocoa Life to further enable the programme to develop and adopt gender-sensitive and transformative approaches.

The report found that the Cocoa Life programme is successful in promoting women’s leadership through the five focus areas of the Cocoa Life programme. It also proposed some recommendations to Mondelēz International to have even greater impact on promoting gender equality in the cocoa value chain.

We also support communities to define their own community action plans, negotiate support from the local authorities, and address key social issues such as land-related conflict and child labour. The programme works at all levels: individual farmers, farmer organisations and entire communities.