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Exchange trip to Côte d’Ivoire on cocoa for members of Ziama agroforestry cooperatives

17 May 2024

Fauna and Flora International (FFI), in partnership with GRET, is implementing the "One landscape, one vision" project to support the N’Zérékoré Forest Centre (CFZ) in Guinea, backed by the Programme for the Preservation of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa (PAPFor), funded by the European Union. As part of this project, GRET is helping the cocoa sector to become more organised and to boost activities in communities bordering the Ziama Biosphere Reserve, by supporting sustainable cropping systems that do not have a negative impact on the forests and wildlife. GRET, in collaboration with a Guinean entrepreneurship NGO, the Maison Guinéenne de l’Entrepreneur (MGE), a long-standing national partner, has supported the creation of 9 Simplified Cooperative Societies (SCOOPS) for the production and marketing of quality cocoa, produced using sustainable practices within protected and maintained agroforestry plantations.

To help strengthen this dynamic in Ziama, GRET and MGE organised an exchange trip to Côte d’Ivoire in April 2024, to the town of Daloa in the Haut Sassandra region, an area of high cocoa production. The trip involved 25 people (female and male members of SCOOPS, including relay farmers, a representative of the Guinean agroeconomic research institute (IRAG), and the GRET and MGE technical teams), and provided an opportunity to meet 3 cooperatives with experience in agroforestry, marketing of certified products (Rainforest Alliance, organic and fair trade) and processing for the local market, to promote sustainable cocoa.

The aims of the trip were to:

  • To discuss the history, organisation and operation of the Ivorian cooperatives we met, in order to understand their origins and development, their main activities and their sources of funding;
  • Understand the agricultural advisory services provided by the cooperatives and/or the Ivorian technical services with which they work;
  • Facilitate sharing between farmers on sustainable cocoa production and post-harvest practices (agroforestry/agroecology, fermentation, drying, conservation, etc.)
  • Benefit from Côte d’Ivoire’s experience in marketing certified cocoa that meets both environmental and social standards;
  • Provide practical training for women members of the Guinean SCOOPS in techniques for processing cocoa beans into chocolate for the local market.
Cocoa transformation training
Plantation visit

The exchanges were very fruitful and helped to strengthen the theoretical and practical knowledge of family farmers in Ziama. The women were very active in the training on chocolate processing and intend to try it out on their return to Ziama. Group marketing activities and cocoa certification (fair trade, organic) were of particular interest to the participants, due to their positive socio-economic and community impacts. Makouloubo Koropogui, a female member of SCOOPS in Baimani, was particularly impressed: "If farmers like us have managed to improve their incomes and even build infrastructure in their local areas, we should take inspiration from them. As soon as I get back, I’m going to share these experiences with the village".

Meeting with two Ivorian cooperatives