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New Standard for Measuring Cocoa Household Income Launched

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has launched a new methodology for measuring cocoa farmer household income and living incomes.

The newly developed multistakeholder methodology is expected to be adopted generally as a “strong standard” for the cocoa sector in measuring cocoa farmer household income.

“Accurately measuring cocoa farmer household income will be key to understanding the impact of sustainability interventions on cocoa farmer households and the environment,” said a WCF press release.


The development of the standard was commissioned and funded by the World Cocoa Foundation.

Additional funding support was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in collaboration with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (SWISSCO).

Wageningen University Research (WUR) and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) delivered the technical design, in partnership with CIRES and EMC from Côte d’Ivoire.

It was completed with inputs from numerous stakeholders across the cocoa sector, including the Alliance on Living Income in Cocoa (ALICO), the Living Income Community of Practice (LICOP), representatives from producing country governments, NGOs and civil society organisations, and various WCF member companies.

According to WCF, “there has been no authoritative way to measure cocoa farmer household income across the sector” until now.

It explained that existing methods were deficient in accounting for the costs of cocoa production and capturing non-cocoa income.

“Data gathered by individual companies offers an incomplete picture based solely on their direct supply chains, leaving cocoa growers in the indirect supply chain underrepresented,” said the

Currently, individual data gathering by companies and other institutions relies on diverse methods and in silos.

Therefore, the new methodology is expected to solve many of these challenges and offer a standard that applies to all future studies, research, and data collection to make them more widely comparable and better representative of the sector as a whole.

It captures groups that have not been intensively involved in sustainability interventions in the past as well as underrepresented groups such as sharecroppers, women, and cocoa farmers in the indirect supply chain, said WCF.

It said the cocoa farmer household income measuring standard comes with a “robust means of collecting data on diversified household income that does not stem from cocoa.”

It is also designed to determine the living income status of cocoa farming households and the impact of sustainability interventions on household incomes, essential to defining and aligning stakeholders’ efforts around the interventions that are most effective.

“To understand what works in helping raise cocoa farmers’ incomes, we first need to be able to consistently measure how activities affect those incomes,” said Michael Matarasso, WCF Director of Monitoring and Evaluation.

“This methodology gives everyone in the sector a firm foundation to stand on and ultimately helps us drive collective progress to improve cocoa farmers’ incomes.”

WCF, GIZ and SWISSCO are set to use the tool to conduct baseline studies on cocoa farmer household income in three landscapes in Côte d’Ivoire as a second phase of the collaboration.

Also, the Foundation says it will implement an income study later this year in the Yapo Abbé Forest, while GIZ conducts a similar study in Bossématié.

SWISSCO, on the other hand, plans to deliver an income study in Cavally Forest Reserve in 2024 and has quite recently completed an income study in Ghana aligned with the CHIS methodology.

Similarly, other academic institutions, companies, and government agencies can use the methodology in their own research and data collection, reinforcing a common standard for the entire industry.

“This methodology is important as it enables evidence-based policy and intervention design based on the analysis of good quality data for different household groups.

We hope that it contributes to greatly reducing or closing the living income gaps of farming households,” said Yuca Waarts, Senior Researcher at Wageningen University & Research.

Lisa Kirfel-Rühle, who oversees cocoa supply chains at BMZ, emphasised the significance of the CHIS methodology, stating that “through CHIS, we and our partners advocate for standardised, high-quality income data of cocoa farmers to strengthen political discourse, whether past interventions have been sufficient to ensure decent incomes for cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire or whether we still have to address imbalances in value chain distributions.”

“Helping cocoa farmers succeed requires everyone in the cocoa sector to work together. Therefore, having a common methodology to measure and compare the income of cocoa farmer families is important to accurately understand their economic situation,” said Nicoletta Lumaldo, Manager of innovation and Member Engagement at SWISSCO.

The new methodology is the result of several months of work and deep collaboration among all the organisations involved.

Kojo Hayford
Source Cocoa Post
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