Fairtrade Cocoa Farmers in Côte d’Ivoire have increased their income by 85% in four years

Fairtrade compiled the research by conducting interviews with farmers and surveying co-operatives

A household income survey by Fairtrade International found that Fairtrade farmers in Côte d’Ivoire have significantly boosted their income over the last four years.

The survey collected data through online interviews with farmers and a survey of management staff of the farmer co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire.

The survey found that the average Ivorian cocoa farmer annual household income grew by 85%, from US$2,670 (£1,920) in 2016/17 to $4,937 (£3,552) in 2020/21, a surge it attributes to increased revenue from cocoa sales and diversification through in-kind and off-farm incomes. For example, in 2016-2017 the average farmer earned 74% of their household income from cocoa; today that figure is 58%.

The research also revealed that 61% of the farmers’ households in the current study were living above the extreme poverty line, as compared to 42% based on data collected in 2016/17 and published in 2018.

“This increase in household income is good news for these Fairtrade farmer households in challenging times,” says Jon Walker, Fairtrade’s senior adviser on cocoa. “However, far too many farmer households are still not earning a living income.

“With continued pressure on prices, high national production and suppressed global demand, brands and retailers can step in and make further progress on living incomes through long-term contracts, stable prices and programmatic support focusing on farm efficiency and diversification. There is still much more to be done.”

The report shows that some co-operatives performed better than others in the distribution of the Fairtrade Minimum Price (FMP) differential (ranging from 100% of farmers who reported to have received the FMP differential payment for the highest performing co-operative, to 12% for the lowest performing cooperative). Fairtrade says it will take action to ensure that future payments are made in a timely manner and farmers are more clearly informed by their co-operative on the reason for payment.

Another finding was that for the majority of the farmers (64.3%), the FT premium makes up less than 2% of their income, meaning that farmers have become less reliant on the premium due to the fact that the average household income has increased. One explanation, according to Fairtrade, is that farmers may have received more support from the Fairtrade premium in the form of services and trainings instead of monetary payments.

In light of the survey, Fairtrade concluded that diversification strategies, premiums and trainings could drive further improvements in farmer household income.