Exploring Ways to Help Africa's Cocoa Farmers

IFC, in partnership with the World Bank, is exploring ways to support West African cocoa farmers improve their livelihood in the face of a number of social and economic challenges.



Two million family farms in some of West Africa’s poorest areas produce 70 percent of the world’s cocoa. The cocoa sector is a major engine of regional economic activity, generating significant export revenue and providing livelihood for 20 million people.

Future sustainable development of the sector faces significant challenges: falling productivity, diminishing farmer incomes, poor physical infrastructure that obstructs access to markets, and concerns over harmful child labor and deforestation.

Coordinating Efforts to Help the Cocoa Sector

IFC and the Bank has joined with World Cocoa Foundation members, including global chocolate and cocoa industry players like Hershey's, Kraft Foods, Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate, Cargill, ADM, ECOM, and Armagaro Trading, to discuss ways to coordinate efforts to support small holder farmers and improve the sustainability of cocoa production.

A comprehensive approach to increasing farmers’ incomes through increased productivity and improved access to finance, technology, and markets is needed, said meeting participants. That in turn will help address the problem of harmful child labor.

The participants identified specific areas where IFC’s investment and advisory services, as well as the convening power of the World Bank Group, could complement the Foundation’s existing efforts to increase productivity and farmers' incomes in the sector:



  • IFC could play a strong role in increasing access to finance along the cocoa supply chain and provide farmer training on new technologies and practices
  • The World Bank could help improve the overall investment climate in the sector and support infrastructure projects.

IFC Projects Underway

IFC has already begun work on projects to support the cocoa industry. Earlier this year, IFC committed its first transaction in the sector in Africa – a guarantee to Stanbic, a Ghanaian bank – to finance intermediaries that purchase cocoa from family farms. More than 100,000 farmers are expected to benefit from this facility.

Plans are also underway to launch a sector-wide advisory program to help develop and promote sustainable practices for West African cocoa producers.

For more information contact:
Kimberlee Brown
Communications Officer
Dakar, Senegal
Tel: +221 33 859 7126
Email: kbrown@ifc.org