18 June 2022
Mars, Fairtrade and ECOOKIM – a collection of cocoa farming co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire – announced plans to deepen their partnership, through an innovative $10m programme to raise farmer incomes. This programme is novel, experimental and ambitious – it’s also urgently needed.
Fairtrade first started working together with ECOOKIM farmers and Mars over two years ago, to identify the most effective ways to raise cocoa farmers’ incomes and help farming households thrive. Farmers themselves know better than anyone else both the challenges they face – such as climate change and long-term low prices – as well as the sorts of solutions that can best tackle these challenges.
As a collective of several cocoa farming co-operatives, ECOOKIM have been perfectly placed to represent the needs, views and experiences of their members in this context. It’s why I’m delighted that they have strongly contributed to the design of the new Livelihoods Ecosystem Advancement Programme (LEAP) – an innovative five-year partnership between Fairtrade, Mars Wrigley and ECOOKIM, which is centred around farmers’ voices and engagement at all levels.
It’s vital that farmers are actively involved in shaping, owning and implementing programmes that affect their lives and livelihoods. By working so closely with ECOOKIM the programme has been designed with the needs of cocoa farmers in mind.
Mike Gidney, Chief Executive, Fairtrade Foundation, said: ‘We believe that all farmers should get the incomes their hard work deserves, and we know new approaches are needed. By investing in strengthening cocoa co-operatives, widening access to finance, and supporting farmers in diversifying their incomes, together, we hope to achieve deeper impact for farming households.’