Livelihood Improvement for Farming Enterprises (LIFE) III
Smallholder Cocoa Farmers Increase Incomes
ACDI/VOCA implemented the final phase of the Livelihood Improvement for Farmer Enterprises (LIFE) III project. Working in Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Gbarpolu, Grand Gedeh, and River Gee counties of Liberia, the USDA-funded program continued ACDI/VOCA’s work to empower over 10,000 smallholder cocoa farmers, farmer organizations, and suppliers to improve livelihoods by increasing the productivity, profitability, quality, and marketability of Liberian cocoa.
- Increase the production of cocoa by focusing on the business capacity of the producer organizations and facilitating rural access to financial services while strengthening the farm management and income diversification capacity of cocoa producers
- Expand the export of cocoa by strengthening commercial channels for input supplies and facilitating market access and market information for cocoa producers
Activities and Approaches
- Trained 5,590 farmers in improved production and quality management techniques including farm rehabilitation, pruning, integrated pest management, and post-harvest processing
- Trained 10,000 farmers in Farming as a Business farm management techniques including record-keeping, business planning, and access to capital through 200 local farmer trainers
- Trained 10,000 farmers in income diversification including community gardens and artisanal cocoa byproducts
- Facilitated ready and frequent access to current market information for 7,000 association members
- Facilitated access to community-based financial services, such as credit unions and village savings and loan clubs, for 5,000 association members in collaboration with the Liberia National Credit Union (LCUNA) and the central bank apex group for credit unions, NAPEX
- Facilitated the distribution or sale of 1.2 million high-yield, disease-free cocoa seedlings while supporting the sustainable growth of commercial nurseries
- Strengthened 30 farmer organizations through good governance, leadership, and effective communication and negotiation skills training as well as build the capacity of the Cooperative Development Association (CDA), the Liberian government regulatory agency, to efficiently and effectively supervise these farmer organizations
Anticipated/Achieved Project Results
- Provided support to 43 local nurseries and farm input service providers to establish the production and sale of over 788,000 high-quality cocoa seedlings to facilitate farmers’ access to improved cocoa seedlings through affordable price negotiation.
- Signed grants with eight local organizations valued at $1.2 million to provide 103 farmer field schools training over 10,000 smallholder cocoa farmers covering topics including crop production, pest management, post-harvest handling, and product quality management.
- Assisted 24 farmers groups to become certified by the CDA as cooperatives and 20 Village, Savings, and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to become certified as Credit Unions.
- Facilitated 3,000 cocoa farmers in Nimba country to become UTZ certified.
- 12,334 cocoa farmers can now access price information through radio and SMS platforms for cooperatives/farmer organizations and farmers at the field level in six languages. The average price received by farmers has increased fourfold since 2010. With over 80% of Liberian cocoa now rated at Grade I, farmers generally receive more than the monthly guide price for their bulked production.