Fazer’s farmer programme in Côte d’Ivoire includes 1,000 farmers and three cooperatives, located in the country’s south-east. The programme now also covers the area of Bieby, which Fazer has supported since 2012, when the construction of the region’s first secondary school got under way. Support for the village has continued in the form of various projects independent from the sourcing of cocoa, from the electrification of the school to the construction of a sports field and new classrooms. Now the area supplies cocoa for Fazer’s chocolates, which is a wonderful continuation to the cooperation.

The farmer programme allows us to help farmers improve their income. Sustainable farming practices yield better crops and higher quality. The training of farmers, improving the income of women, promoting children’s school attendance, providing employment to young people and preventing deforestation with the planting of new trees all make up a significant part of the programme.

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Improving the income of women

Banking cooperatives have been established in five village communities based on farmers’ wishes. These cooperatives secure funding for projects organised by women and also enable the accumulation of savings. There are a total of 171 members in the five village communities. The projects have involved the cultivation of food crops and ensuring children’s schooling. The women in the cooperatives have been provided with training on reading, writing and numeracy skills so that they have the can take care of the cooperatives’ administrative tasks, for example.

Supporting children’s school attendance

School buildings in the area of the cooperatives have been taken into use again after repairs and renovation. Classrooms have also been equipped with furniture and school supplies, to provide children with better conditions for studying.
The secondary school in Bieby supported by Fazer has 29 pupils whose parents farm cocoa delivered to Fazer.

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Preventing the use of child labour

Each cooperative has committee which monitors the use of child labour. There is one monitor per 54 farmers. The monitors are trained and carry out farm inspections both as agreed and in the form of spot checks. No instances of child labour have been discovered in connection to the inspections. The inspections have revealed that 43 school-aged children did not have birth certificates, and that their parents could not afford to obtain the certificates. A child with no birth certificate will not have the possibility to attend school. As a remedial measure, we have obtained birth certificates for these children within the programme’s framework, so that they can attend school. They have also been provided with school supplies.

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The planting of forests as part of the programme aiming to prevent the destruction of cocoa trees

Fazer participates in the Forest and Cocoa Initiative of the World Cocoa Foundation. In the framework of this commitment, the farmers in the cooperatives have planted new trees on their farms. The number of new trees planted by them totals 10,000. The saplings have been planted by younger farmers, trained for the task by local agronomists. Unemployed youth in the village communities have also been trained in cultivation and the promotion of good agricultural practices.

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The challenges faced by the cooperatives include old agricultural practices, which yield weak crops. This is why the farming programmes employ model plantations, which serve as concrete examples of how new cultivation methods impact the growth of crops. Some of the villages’ unemployed young people have been successfully engaged in this work.

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