In a bold move aimed at shaking up the cocoa farming landscape in Côte d’Ivoire, the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism, a special fund of the African Development Bank, has partnered with OCP, a leading global fertiliser supplier, to introduce a $2 million trade credit guarantee scheme. The initiative is set to address the historical challenges faced by cocoa farmers in maximising profits due to inadequate fertiliser supplies.
Côte d’Ivoire, renowned as the world’s largest cocoa exporter, supplies a staggering 40% of the global chocolate market. The San Pedro port, nestled along the Gulf of Guinea, handles the majority of the country’s cocoa harvest, attracting major global traders such as Société Africaine de Cacao and Cargill.
For cocoa farmers in San Pedro, however, obtaining sufficient fertilisers has been a persistent challenge, limiting farm productivity and hindering their ability to capitalise on the lucrative cocoa industry. Ribou Adama, an agro-dealer in the region, revealed that before the intervention, they could only secure 200 to 300 tonnes of fertilisers annually, far below the demand from cocoa farm cooperatives.
The Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism-OCP project is poised to change this narrative. The $2 million trade credit guarantee scheme not only facilitates agribusiness contracts with agro-hub dealers like Adama but also provides them with crucial business management training. The initiative addresses the financial constraints faced by distributors and agro-dealers, enabling them to access fertilisers in bulk.
This game-changing scheme boosts supplier confidence, as the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism shares the transactional credit risk with the supplier. Agro-dealers, in turn, can sell fertilisers on credit to distributors or cooperatives, ensuring a more extensive reach and benefit for farmers.
Adama shared his experience, stating, “With the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism-OCP project, today we reach nearly 2 000 tonnes [of fertiliser] in a year. We can access areas where we couldn’t before. It positively impacts our business,” highlighting that he now serves 12 cooperatives, representing almost 5 000 farmers.
In a recent delivery involving seven San Pedro agro-dealers, OCP delivered a total of 3 120 tons of fertiliser to 9 897 local farmers within a single planting season. As a result, cocoa farm cooperative leaders are witnessing increased sales, creating a positive ripple effect on the entire industry.
The credit scheme is part of the African Fertiliser Financing Mechanism’s broader programmes in Côte d’Ivoire, targeting importers, blenders, and manufacturers. The initiative aims to assist 180,000 smallholder farmers in gaining access to fertilisers, ultimately boosting yields and transforming the cocoa farming landscape in the region.
Adama affirms, “Our sales are increasing. We are ready to go even further with this project because we help producers get fertilisers at a lower cost and allow them to pay in several tranches.”