Cocoa-Farming Families See Improved Yields and Incomes in Nestlé’s Program

A recent report from the KIT Institute reveals significant strides in cocoa productivity and income among farmers participating in Nestlé’s income accelerator program. Through high-quality pruning techniques, cocoa yields increased by 32%, resulting in a remarkable 38% rise in net income for households enrolled in the program. This surge in income has led to a greater number of households achieving a living income, marking a positive shift in their economic well-being.

The study, spanning 18 months and encompassing 2,000 households across 28 cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire, underscores the tangible benefits of Nestlé’s initiative. In addition to bolstering productivity, the program effectively combats diseases and pests through the adoption of sound agricultural practices. Moreover, it fosters income diversification and enhances financial inclusion, particularly empowering women and improving child schooling rates. Notably, school enrollment among children in the program witnessed a significant increase of 10 percentage points compared to a 5 percentage point increase in the comparison group.

One striking outcome of the program is the surge in entrepreneurial endeavors among participating households. The proportion of households investing in small businesses more than doubled from 21% in 2022 to 55% in 2023, albeit with income changes still being in the early stages.

Furthermore, the program actively promotes women’s financial inclusion by facilitating their involvement in Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), providing avenues for savings, loans, and entrepreneurship training. The number of women enrolled in these associations saw a substantial 52% increase, reflecting the program’s commitment to gender equality and economic empowerment.

Darrell High, Global Cocoa Manager at Nestlé, expressed optimism regarding the program’s transformative impact on cocoa farming practices and household livelihoods. Emphasizing the program’s focus on professionalizing labor and empowering women, High highlighted its role in driving higher yields and incomes while supporting children’s education and income diversification.

Launched in January 2022, Nestlé’s income accelerator program aims to bridge the living income gap for cocoa-farming families and address child labor risks. By incentivizing positive behaviors such as school enrollment, adoption of good agricultural practices, and income diversification, the program has garnered support from over 10,000 families in Côte d’Ivoire. Expansion to Ghana is underway, with plans to reach 30,000 families this year and an ambitious target of reaching 160,000 cocoa-farming families globally by 2030, signaling a commitment to creating impactful change at scale.

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