IVORY COAST – Global agribusiness company Cargill has renewed partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to introduce new initiatives to strengthen cocoa producing cooperatives and their communities through an improved Coop Academy 2.0 program.

The Cargill Coop Academy was first established in 2013 to provide cocoa cooperative leaders with the management skills to improve daily operations of their organizations, leading to a more professional, efficient and successful business.

Lionel Soulard, managing director of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate in West Africa, said “The cooperative model has proven to be an exceptional method to bring cocoa farmers and their communities lasting benefits.’’

‘’ By gaining invaluable skills and tools to professionalize their business, we see them independently driving impactful sustainability projects that bring meaningful change to their communities and the cocoa sector at large.” He added.

In 2014, Cargill partnered with IFC and others to scale the program to reach over 350 cooperative leaders. With the renewed partnership it will add 40 additional cooperatives to the academy, bringing the total to 120 cooperatives.

The improved Coop Academy 2.0 program, supported by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), private sector window managed by IFC will feature updated training with an even stronger focus on digitalization and traceability based on learnings from the first phase, to provide cooperatives stronger data and analytics to inform critical business decisions.

The digital program will provide 35,250 farmers with access to digital payments platform, enabling utilization and access to digital financial services.

Measurement and benchmarking, using a tool developed by IFC and SCOPEInsight, an independent agricultural assessment agency, will measure the impact and increase business opportunities for over 125,000 farmers.

It will benchmark activities such as operations, sustainability, financial and internal management, with the purpose of assessing how increased leadership capacity results in improved management of the cooperatives.

Cargill is using digital technologies like these to strengthen the transparency of its own cocoa supply chain. This partnership is in line with Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s Transformation, together ambition, using the power of partnerships to achieve its sustainability targets and accelerate sector transformation in a way that could not be done alone.

IFC, member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. They work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using their capital, expertise and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most.

Aliou Maiga, IFC Director for West and Central Africa, said, “Through our partnership with Cargill, IFC is committed to the long-term growth and sustainability of Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry. This program deepens our support for smallholder farmers and helps introduce agricultural best practices and innovative financial services to help Cote d’Ivoire remain the world’s top cocoa producer.”

Coop Academy 2.0 is also adding training and support fully dedicated to women’s groups, with the aim of coaching 250 women leaders.

The initiative will also include tools and resources to help 3,000 women setup income-generating activities, to raise the earning potential of their families and build the economic viability of their community reports APO Group.