Agathe Vanié is not only a mother-of-three; she is also a leading figure to hundreds of women in Divo in Côte d’Ivoire. She fought to get portions of cocoa farming land in an industry dominated by men. Not easy a feat.
Her organisation, the Association of Female Coffee-Cocoa Producers of Sud-Bandama (AFPCC), is the first female owned cooperative for cocoa and coffee production.
In 2010, Agathe heard about a new opportunity – a plan to increase farmers’ profitability, secure high-quality cocoa, and address supply chain issues such as child labour, gender inequality and poor social conditions.
Agathe and her cooperative joined the Nestlé Cocoa Plan that year, and it has provided her 600 women cooperative with high-yield, disease-resistant cocoa seedlings and the technical assistance necessary to set up a nursery. The cooperative also uses a delivery truck bought by Nestlé to help them distribute the cocoa beans.
In our tradition, cocoa farming was only reserved for men. We fought to get portions of land from our spouses and the Nestlé Cocoa Plan supports us.
In 2015 alone, 27% of Nestlé Cocoa Plan nurseries were run by women and 66 women’s groups were helped through income-generating activities as part of the Plan.
Women are also establishing their independence through the Nestlé Grains Quality Improvement Project (GQIP), as part of the company’s pledge to increase local sourcing.
Launched in Ghana and Nigeria in 2007 with the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the GQIP helps to improve the quality and safety of grains by reducing the high levels of mycotoxins and boosting the overall health of rural communities by eating good quality, safe grains.
For Alidu Samata from Ghana, joining the project in 2010 changed her life.
She is one of the thousands of female farmers who have received training on the project to improve their capacity and their livelihoods.
Today, the mother-of-seven has been able to transform her production of 4-5 bags per acre to 10-12 bags, after using skills taught by Nestlé agronomists.
The impact on the community has been immense. I can now pay my children’s school fees and can afford to sew them school uniforms. Now I even have some extra income.
My Own Business
Other schemes across the region, such as the ‘My Own Business’ (MYOWBU) initiative are helping women in Central and West Africa develop a career and gain financial independence.
Comfort Dorkutso from Ghana and Chrystèle Esso from Cameroon are just a few of the thousands of women who now run thriving businesses.