Cargill has strengthened its program with CARE in Côte d'Ivoire to launch a unique U.S $2.4 million partnership with the Conseil du Café-Cacao and 14 cocoa farmer cooperatives that will improve the availability of healthcare and increase the number of children with access to good quality educational facilities across 14 local communities.
This first-of-its-kind partnership in Côte d'Ivoire brings together investment and resources from the participating partners to enable cocoa farmer cooperatives to have a direct influence on projects that will benefit their local communities. Each cooperative will have access to additional funding to its own investment, which cooperatives receive as a direct result of premium payments for certified cocoa achieved under the Cargill Cocoa Promise. This will mean more investment and better facilities that will benefit more farmers and more families in these communities.
Speaking on behalf of Cargill, Lionel Soulard, managing director, West Africa, said “The role of cooperatives in this project is essential, not only do they benefit from additional funding from Conseil du Café-Cacao and Cargill but with the expertise of CARE, they are able to take ownership of how their money is invested to improve the living standards of their communities. This program will deliver a strong message to the communities of the role that cooperatives can play and incentivise other farmers to join their local cooperatives in order to contribute to the social wellbeing of their communities.”
Each cocoa cooperative has worked with CARE to assess the critical needs of their communities and as a result, the programme will directly support the development of 11 schools for over 1500 children and three dispensary clinics providing health care for 25,000 people. Each school project will include three classrooms, one house for the school director, two houses for school teachers, a canteen, latrines and access to water. The dispensary clinic projects will include the clinic, equipment and a house for the doctor. In addition to these substantial infrastructure projects, training sessions have been completed in the communities on topics such as gender, credit systems, child labour, literacy and maintenance of their new facilities.
This is the first phase of the program and there are plans to scale up this project to reach over 100 communities across the country, helping cooperatives to take an active role in the future of their communities.
Speaking on behalf of Conseil Café Cacao, Massandjé Touré-Litse, managing director, said “This partnership with Cargill is adding to existing actions of the Conseil du Café-Cacao to improve livelihoods and working conditions of farmers and their communities. In addition, it’s really positive to see that farmers benefiting from this program are not only able to improve their cultural techniques and living conditions, but are able to organize their participation to investments which are benefitting their communities.”
Building work for the projects is expected to start in the coming weeks; each cooperative will manage the building process. By October 2014 all projects should be complete.
Sidibe Balla Moussa, country manager, CARE said, “Since our global partnership began, Cargill has embraced CARE’s emphasis on having the people in the communities that we serve taking a leading role and identifying problems and developing solutions that they can sustain themselves. This project does just that and will help CARE to reach more cocoa farmers and benefit more children than ever in Côte d’Ivoire.”
Cargill has been working with CARE since 2006 and in 2013 recently announced the renewal of its global partnership to help farmers and their families in developing countries increase their productivity and incomes, improve food security in their communities and better educate children.