Preservation of forests through cooperative professionalisation

Partnerships for Forests is supporting CÉMOI to transform the current cocoa production paradigm in Côte d’Ivoire from unsustainable traditional methods – that involve clearing natural forests – to a more productive and sustainable system through farmer professionalisation.


In Côte d’Ivoire, cocoa is the most important export commodity accounting for about 40 percent of national earnings. The cocoa sector employs approximately 1 million farmers, and more than 6 million people depend on it for their livelihoods, directly or indirectly.

Yet farmers are still largely using traditional production techniques such as slash and burn practices, poor fertiliser application, and unrestrained logging which lead to low yields and encroachment into forest reserves – making cocoa the main contributor of deforestation in the country.

The Project

To address these issues and reverse negative trends, Partnerships for Forests is supporting CÉMOI, a private cocoa company, to implement sustainable cocoa production within the Mé, Agneby-Tiassa, and Indenie-Djuablin landscapes in Côte d’Ivoire.

The project will promote reforestation activities and protection mechanisms by using market incentives, community engagement, and enforcing existing legal and regulatory frameworks.

Farmer professionalisation, incentive provision, and the empowerment of cocoa farmer cooperatives will be central to the process. The project will:

  • improve the resilience of cocoa cropping systems to climate change through agroforestry, increasing yields and income for farmers;
  • pilot an incentive mechanism system. Offering cocoa farmers long-term agreements with CÉMOI (following the FPIC process) to reforest and maintain trees within cocoa landscapes in return for provision of inputs and services to increase yields; and
  • increase farmer revenues through the rehabilitation and intensification of cocoa orchards to stabilise cocoa surfaces and reduce pressure on the remaining forests.

Following feasibility studies, agreements will be offered to farmer cooperatives for sustainable cocoa production. Once signed, they will be tracked by newly established traceability and monitoring systems.

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This positive transformation of the cocoa production landscape will contribute to a forest protection and conservation mechanism that puts the cooperative at its centre.

By 2020, this project is expected to bring an area of approximately 61,000ha under sustainable land management and leverage an estimated in private sector capital. In addition, the project stands to benefit an estimated 5,000 farmers and approximately 25,000 household members living in the project landscape.

Lead Organisation: CÉMOI Trading

Implementing Organisations :  

Public: Le Conseil du Café-Cacao, Société de Développement des Forêts (SODEFOR)

Civil Society: Smallholder cocoa cooperatives

Current status
MoU signed