Ivory Coast and Ghana produce about 60% of the world’s cocoa, but in the small state of Liberia, farmers cannot compete with the mass exports of their neighbours. Smallholders there produce 95% of all cocoa, usually on plots of between 1-3 hectares; thousands of farmers depend on cocoa to make a living but face unproductive fields and cannot turn their product into sustenance. They can, however, improve the quantity and quality of their product learning to align cocoa trees and treat pests with the help of an initiative of Solidaridad West Africa to lift thousands of families out of poverty and recover abandoned plantations.
Across Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone there are large tracts of arable land for food production, but crop productivity is less than a quarter of global averages as the region is among the hardest hit by climate change. Solidaridad’s programmes across these countries are designed to tackle both crop productivity and service delivery challenges.
With a particular focus on shared learning among farmers, community action and attracting young people into agriculture while ensuring gender inclusivity, their work aims to create employment and improve income. Solidaridad also works with local communities to create an agricultural model based on landscape management and sustainable land use to offer a better future to the farmers and their families – while addressing food security, nutrition and community development – and breaking the poverty cycle.
Journalist and blogger, he has worked as an editor for several travel, nature and science magazines for the last 20 years.
Isaac Gyamfi, managing director