CARE & Cargill have released a report titled “A Decade of Impact in Cocoa Communities: More than Ten Years of the CARE-Cargill Partnership” which details the CARE-Cargill partnership successes and learnings in supporting cocoa sustainability and building better lives for cocoa farmers and their families in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
CARE and Cargill have been working together in Ghana since 2008 and in Côte d’Ivoire since 2010 to combat the many challenges facing the cocoa sector. Through this partnership, CARE and Cargill have made a tangible positive difference for Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa communities in a number of critical areas such as child labour prevention, women empowerment, building production capacity and diversifying income, improving access to finance, amongst other.
On the successes chalked for child labour prevention, CARE and Cargill have focused on preventive measures such as improved access to education for children. In Côte d’Ivoire, they have trained parents and children on the harmful effects of child labour and created community development committees which aim to help communities develop solutions to challenges, including child labour. In Ghana, programs have focused on the development of school-related infrastructure, rehabilitation, and child labour sensitization.
CARE and Cargill have also helped communities develop action plans to mobilize funds and address pressing needs. To date, they have supported the establishment of 275 community action plans, resulting in more than 160 community infrastructure improvements in both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, including the establishment of hydraulic pumps, construction of school facilities, and latrines.
For women’s empowerment, their support has created profound change for women in Ghana. Women supported in CARE-Cargill programs between 2016 and 2019 indicated a 30 percent increase in participation in household financial decision-making, an 18 percent increase in women holding formal leadership positions, and a 19 percent increase in opportunities to engage in formal decision-making spaces and to serve as leaders within the community.
According to the report, through the Cargill Cocoa Promise, Cargill is working with 132,000 smallholder cocoa farmers to support their business development in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Between 2008 and 2013, CARE’s agricultural training package, combined with greater access to extension services and strong market linkage, led to a 29 percent increase in average farmer income among project-supported farmers in Ghana.
With access to savings, loans, and other sources of credit being a core component to fostering prosperous and resilient communities, they have established 376 Village Savings Loan Associations (VSLAs) comprising 9,034 members (6,853 women) in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Those VSLA members have saved $301,186 while distributing $189,014 in loans. Over the last decade, CARE and Cargill have also worked with communities to promote healthy nutrition practices through training and demonstration, while ensuring food security through strengthening farmer livelihoods.
In Côte d’Ivoire between 2015 and 2018, the percentage of food shocks (loss of harvest) in the CARE-Cargill intervention area were 16 percent lower thanks to interventions, with some municipalities seeing a decrease of up to 65 percent in the frequency of food shocks. Households were also 33 percent more likely to eat fruits and vegetables three or more times per day than households outside of the intervention area. Between 2013-2016, interventions in Ghana also contributed to a 12.5 percent reduction in household food insecurity. More than a third of farmers attributed changes in access to food to increased variety of local food, in addition to good farm health, increased revenue, training and education from CARE and Cargill and increased access to food on their own farms.
CARE and Cargill have continued to evolve their approach over the past decade. The initial joint interventions focused on combating child labour, improving access to education, and economically empowering women. After this, CARE and Cargill also set out to improve access to agricultural inputs and access to financial services. Building on learnings, later programs also emphasized income diversification, improved nutrition and climate resilience. CARE and Cargill, along with its other partners and global customers, have enabled continued learning to ensure positive impact.
CARE has partnered with Cargill to invest in the communities they operate for more than sixty years. Since its inception, the partnership has reached more than 2.7 million people through 25 projects in 11 countries, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mali, Nicaragua, India, and Indonesia.
Read also: COCOBOD & Côte d’Ivoire partner to enhance cocoa security along boarders
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