Africa | AgTech

Toolkit supports cocoa cooperatives to collect and manage data to maintain access to the European market

6 February 2024 9:00

Three out of ten cocoa farmers in the Cavally region of Côte d’Ivoire risk an export ban to the European Union. Due to low-quality data, it is difficult to prove that they do not use deforested land. Rabo Foundation and Meridia developed a toolkit to support cooperatives to collect and manage the required data by themselves.

Cacaobonen, geoogst en verzameld in een teil.

Background: new European regulation

The Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products (EUDR) entered into force in the EU in mid-2023. It aims to combat deforestation and forest degradation and targets the trade in wood, coffee, palm oil and cocoa, among other commodities. Enforcement of the regulation will start from the end of December 2024. “Products must be fully traceable and may not be produced on deforested land,” explains Anne Rappoldt, Program Manager Innovation at Rabo Foundation. “Companies that want to buy or sell products on the European market must be able to prove this, and to do so, stakeholders throughout the value chain must have their data in order.”

Problem: future of smallholder farmers at risk

Commissioned by Rabo Foundation, Agtech company and field data specialist Meridia looked into the situation of 21 cocoa cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire. Anne: “Their research shows that in many cases the cooperative data does not meet the EUDR requirements. Consequently, around 30 percent of the smallholders may soon no longer be permitted to export to Europe, directly putting their future at risk, as Europe is the largest importer of cocoa worldwide.”

Solution: toolkit to support cooperatives

Cooperatives often lack the required knowledge, systems, processes, or digital skills. “Together with Meridia, we developed a toolkit with 5 modules addressing aspects such as data quality, data analysis and data protection,” says Anne. “It supports cooperatives to collect, manage and share data. Also, traders and NGOs can use the toolkit to train and support cooperatives and their members.”

Future: suitable for other sectors

The toolkit has been tested by 12 cooperatives and received a positive response. Anne: “The tools were specially created for cocoa cooperatives in Ivory Coast, but with minor adjustments, they are also suitable for other countries and sectors. I hope that the toolkit will be widely used. The new regulation can have a major impact on the lives of many smallholder farmers around the world.”

Together with Meridia, Rabo Foundation supports cocoa cooperatives to collect, manage, and share data. Interested to find out more about the research ? Or perhaps the toolkit?