Farmers often have limited knowledge of modern farming techniques and farm management skills as well as limited access to finance that would allow the purchase of input supplies and quality planting material. Other challenges that impede productivity include aging trees that are past their peak cocoa pod production, decline in soil fertility and pests and disease that attack cocoa trees.
The percentage of the world price that farmers receive varies significantly across regions. This is due to a number of factors, including, regulatory environment, access to market information, the use of individual sales versus leveraging the power of group buying, understanding of cocoa quality requirements; and transportation costs.
Pests & Disease
In all three major growing regions, an estimated 30-40% of the crop is lost to pests and disease.
Soil fertility levels degrade over time. Improving productivity through composting and application of fertilizer rejuvenates cocoa lands. Promoting agroforestry techniques, to sustain a diversity of shade trees, food crops, cocoa and other cash crops, encourages productive, healthy, and sustainable farms for cocoa-growing communities.
Access to Education
In some areas, a lack of quality basic education is a critical issue, affecting everything from farmer labor practices and business decisions to youth migrating to urban areas and hindering the future growth of cocoa farming. Functional literacy, agricultural livelihoods training, youth leadership, and teacher training programs that improve access to a quality and relevant education are essential to sustain cocoa-growing communities in the long-term.