Global Development Alliance

Developing Public-Private Partnerships to Increase Cocoa Farmers’ Incomes

ACDI/VOCA joined with USAID/Indonesia, the World Cocoa Foundation and Mars, Inc., to form a public-private sector partnership called the Sustainable Cocoa Enterprise Solutions for Smallholders (SUCCESS) Alliance. In 2002 the SUCCESS Alliance was awarded a USAID Global Development Alliance (GDA) grant to build on ACDI/VOCA’s USDA-funded 416(b) cocoa activities. The grant included farmer training and coordination of research to improve farmer practices and reduce environmental degradation. Project activities were completed in December 2005.

Farmer Training

The farmer training, conducted in hands-on Farmer Field Schools (FFS), was based on a low-cost, low-input cultural method for controlling the cocoa pod borer. The cocoa pod borer is a pest that had destroyed approximately 40 percent of the Sulawesi crop, lowering the quality of cocoa being produced, and thus threatening the livelihood of over 400,000 smallholder farmers. The FFS method is referred to by the Indonesian acronym PsPSP, which stands for frequent harvesting, pruning, sanitation, fertilizing and preservation of natural enemies. Under the GDA grant, ACDI/VOCA directly trained over 100,000 farmers, building on the nearly 60,000 already trained under the previous 416(b) program; expanded activities in Sulawesi, Papua, Bali and North Sumatra; and added a farmer organization component to the program resulting in the formation of 31 well-trained farmer groups.


The SUCCESS Alliance worked to improve the market chain, which had not effectively discourage the mixing of high- and low-quality beans—a practice that prevents growers from receiving higher prices for higher-quality beans. SUCCESS Alliance also trained farmers in organizational development and business skills in order to support joint purchases of inputs and sales of cocoa. The alliance worked to link smallholders with commercial business partners, local training resources and commercial credit providers in order to improve their understanding of and position in the market.


The SUCCESS Alliance worked with researchers from government, industry and universities to improve genetic resistance to the cocoa pod borer and other pests and diseases by improving the genetic stock of cocoa and the rate of cocoa farmer rehabilitation. This was done by promoting the selection of pest-resistant genotypes by farmers and training growers in side-grafting techniques. The SUCCESS Alliance also hosted regional conferences on these issues, as well as supported university research to advance biological controls and improved cocoa-cropping practices.

PDF version of profile (507 KB).