Mapping extends beyond measuring the size and geographical location of a cocoa farm. Household data is also collected, which allows for the development of tailored, individualized farmer plans. The plans offer services to farmers ranging from individual coaching, agricultural inputs, and tools to planting materials and crop and livestock diversification. Providing farmers with the appropriate offering, based on their individual situation and farm profile, supports their journey out of poverty.
“When farmers see the end results of applying good agricultural practices, it enables them to look beyond this season’s crop, and to a more sustainable farming future. They see that increasing cocoa yield with the same amount of land is possible.”
Hamidu believes a key step in the success of engaging with farmers and farming communities is establishing trust.
“Achieving trust with farmers and communities involves frequent visits, being visible in the community, undertaking regular farmer training and being available to provide guidance and support when needed. Showing farmers real, tangible results also achieves buy-in. An example here is the work we do with underplanting, whereby we prune back the older cocoa trees, clear weeds, and plant young seedlings underneath. Farmers see that the older trees suddenly start producing more – and they ask me why this is happening. I explain that by pruning, clearing waste and underplanting, the older trees can become healthier, whilst the young ones are growing. This is the same situation when shade trees are planted. Shade-grown cocoa improves soil quality and can increase biodiversity on the cocoa farm.”