Fertilizer funding promotes growth of Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms

The African Development Bank, through the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism, has rolled out an innovative trade credit guarantee scheme designed to support the cocoa farmers of San Pedro, in the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire). The initiative, which is being run in collaboration with the global fertilizer supplier OCP, looks poised to transform the agricultural landscape of the leading cocoa exporting country.

The Ivory Coast’s economy thrives on cocoa, with 40% of the world’s chocolate originating on its shores. However, the nation’s cocoa farmers, particularly in San Pedro, have long had to deal with serious challenges – chiefly the scarcity of fertilizer, which has curtailed productivity and profits. Ribou Adama, an Ivorian agro-dealer, is all too familiar with this situation. Before the intervention, Adama’s business could muster only 200 to 300 tonnes of fertilizer annually, barely enough to meet the needs of a few local cooperatives.

The tide has now turned with the African Development Bank’s strategic intervention. The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism has unveiled a $2mn trade credit scheme, undergirding agribusiness contracts and fostering supplier confidence. This innovative model not only facilitates fertilizer distribution but also incorporates essential business management training for agro-dealers like Adama.

As a result of the initiative, Adama’s fertilizer supply has surged to nearly 2,000 tonnes annually, enabling expansion into previously inaccessible areas and substantially boosting support to local cocoa farm cooperatives. This growth is having a transformative impact, reaching 9,897 local farmers in a single planting season through the concerted efforts of Adama and six fellow agro-dealers, courtesy of the OCP’s delivery of 3,120 tonnes of fertilizer.

The African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism’s commitment to the Ivory Coast’s agricultural sector aims to empower 180,000 smallholder farmers through improved access to fertilizers, thereby increasing their crop yields and fortifying the mainstay of the nation’s economy.

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