Countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria

For the past decade, Farmer Field Schools (FFS), conducted in groups of 15-20, have been the main source of trainings for smallholder farmers over the past decade. Although FFS trainings have helped many farmers develop more sustainable farming practices, the adoption rates of those practices are often low, even below 15%.

Cocoaching is an individualised training programme launched in 2021 based on the internationally-recognised Farm Development Plan initiative. The programme is designed to support smallholder cocoa farmers in adopting more environmentally sustainable practices that result in higher yields.

Cocoaching provides individualised training to farmers to help them achieve higher yields through more environmentally beneficial practices. We believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to farming, so we provide farmers with concrete advice that matches their farm’s needs and their personal situation. While FFS can cause farmers to become frustrated by generalised advice, we have seen that individual coaching leads to higher farmer motivation. This ultimately means more farmers adopt good agricultural, social, and environmental practices on their farms.

The personalised approach of individual coaching is its main benefit. Group trainings can teach farmers about agroforestry and its benefits for their cocoa farms, but they disregard the fact that agroforestry is a broad practice that should be modified to match farm-specific needs. Whereas one farmer may need to focus on planting a larger number of multipurpose trees, another may be better off focusing on the spread of multipurpose trees around their farm.

You can download our overview of Cocoaching here.