From the 15th to the 18th of June 2017, prof. Ken Giller, dr. Maja Slingerland and PhD candidate Jiska van Vliet of PPS attended the kick- off meeting of the NWO-Wotro project “Cocoa crop improvement, farms and markets: a science-based approach to sustainably improving farmer food security in Ghana and Ivory Coast” in Ivory Coast. This project aims for science-based, sustainable intensification of cocoa production assuring high and stable production now and under future climate change and policy scenarios. Cocoa farmers in West Africa face poor productivity due to constraints at the crop, field, farm and sector level. To ensure farmers’ livelihoods, yields need to increase sustainably. This research will investigate the effect of field level practices on cocoa productivity. The suitability of different (combinations of) practices for different smallholder farm systems will be explored. Effective delivery of the services supporting these practices will be co-developed with public and private partners.
During these days, the project was officially presented to the Conseil du Café Cacao in Abidjan, in the presence of the Dutch embassy in Ivory Coast. The meetings gave all partners the opportunity to get to know each other and each other’s research, and to discuss the research components of the project. The group also visited two potential research sites in Ivory Coast: the Barry Callebaut-Mondelez experimental farm in Tiassalé and the CNRA research station in Divo.