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Renaissance For Cameroon’s Cocoa Cooperatives

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Renaissance For Cameroon’s Cocoa Cooperatives

Renaissance For Cameroon’s Cocoa Cooperatives
April 05
16:54 2016

The Cargill Coop Academy, an adult education managerial program aimed at cocoa farmer cooperative leaders, will now deploy in Cameroon. The training aims at helping to reduce poverty for vulnerable local communities and professionalize farmer organizations. A four year commitment providing education in partnership with Telcar to almost 900 executives from 227 farmer organizations has been made by IFC, a member of the World Bank and Cargill.

Welcoming the initiative at the inaugural ceremony, HE M Henri EYEBE AYISSI, Cameroon’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “Agricultural and cooperative education as much as the improvement of living standards in rural areas are our priorities. With the Cargill Coop Academy, we see an inspirational initiative developed in Cameroon to the benefit of our cocoa farming communities.”

Cooperatives have proven to be one of the most efficient and effective means to reach cocoa farmers, reduce poverty and impact their livelihoods. Decentralized and local, they help famers bring their products to the market. Further developing and professionalizing farmer organizations is a key priority of the Cargill Cocoa Promise because they are extraordinary multipliers to promote good agricultural practices and behavioral change in rural areas. Initiated in 2013, some 320 executives from 80 cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire have already had access to 28 days of intensive classroom training followed by a full year of personalized on-the-ground coaching. Building on the lessons learned and following an in-depth assessment of the country specific requirements, the program is now brought into Cameroon.

“Empowered farmer organizations play a pivotal role in the development of rural infrastructures and the improvement of living standards of agricultural communities. With our support on the ground, executives are able to make a tangible difference to their business,” says Mehita Sylla, IFC country manager in Cameroon. “Our advisory services, funded by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), focus on advancing the professionalism of farmer groups by customizing training and coaching to teach required business skills, and enabling access to input financing to ensure the farmer’s success.”

More than US$1.1 million has been committed until 2020 by the partners to roll out the program. “There is an opportunity to provide the nascent cooperatives in Cameroon with the appropriate support right from the beginning. Along the performance indicators we defined, we will keep monitoring progress and report back in full transparency to ensure a measurable impact,” says Lionel Soulard, Managing director for Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business in West Africa.

Ultimately, the aim is to reach over 50.000 farmers and train them on adapted financial literacy and cooperative management in recognition of their role as the true drivers of successful cooperatives. Chief Executive officer of Telcar, Cargill’s joint venture partner in Cameroon, Mme Kate Kanyi Tometi Fotso commented: “We have started farmer training five years ago and can look back to a very successful development.  With the Cargill Coop Academy, we be able to reach a new level of sophistication and accelerate the outreach to cocoa farmer organizations.”

The Cargill Cocoa Promise, launched in 2012, is the commitment to improve the livelihoods of farmers and their communities in ways that enable them to deliver more cocoa in the long term and secure a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come.

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