How to measure the impact of technical assistance in the Côte d’Ivoire
How can a project know that it’s on the right track when it comes to training? Also, how can a lead organization measure the strength of its subcontractors? Read how the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa confirmed that TechnoServe was delivering top-notch technical assistance to cocoa cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire.
Cocoa farming is a difficult way of life
Over 48% of the workforce in Côte d’Ivoire works in agriculture, which makes up over 20% of the country’s GDP. One of the biggest crops in Côte d’Ivoire is cocoa beans. In 2017, Côte d’Ivoire exported 1.5 million tons of cocoa beans, and they account for a hefty 37% of export earnings for the country as a whole. However, despite Côte d’Ivoire being the largest cocoa producer in the world, cocoa farmers still face many challenges that impact their yields and livelihoods.
Cocoa is a seasonal plant, which means farmers cannot rely upon it to provide year-round income. Even during the high season, disease and climate impact can decrease yields. There are also other issues that cocoa farmers face, such as a lack of knowledge of the newest agricultural practices. For some younger farmers, this makes cocoa an unappealing crop to begin cultivating. Thus, to strengthen the Ivorian cocoa sector and empower cocoa farmers, changes must be made from the ground up, starting with the smallholder farmers.
Pro-Planteurs wants to help cocoa famers
Pro-Planteurs is led by the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa and has four main goals: (1) strengthening farmer organizations, (2) improving cocoa production, (3) improving nutrition through diversification, and (4) promoting joint learning. To reach these goals, Pro-Planteurs offers technical training and support to smallholder farmers. TechnoServe is the project’s technical assistance provider, and they are largely responsible for implementing this project.
Initially, the Pro-Planteurs project was intended to run for five years, from June of 2015 through May of 2020. Due to its great success, however, it was extended and will now run through May of 2025. One of the project’s distinguishing features is that it approaches farming as a business, which improves the cocoa sector and is appealing to youth.
Data-driven tools measure the quality of the technical assistance
In 2016, Pro-Planteurs hired TechnoServe to train executives from participating farmer organizations. In 2017, to judge the effectiveness of TechnoServe’s training, they hired SCOPEinsight to do an independent analysis. Using the SCOPE Basic® tool, the project could see how much of an impact TechnoServe’s technical assistance had, and the results were stunning. All eighteen assessed organizations had seen significant improvement in their business acumen. Before the training, only 22% of the organizations were considered professional, but after the training, that number had tripled to 66%. The average SCOPE score of these organizations exceeded the average performance of other organizations we have assessed in Côte d’Ivoire and in the region. We have since conducted further assessments and reassessments of Pro-Planteurs’ organizations to track their continuing growth.
This is a perfect example of how well our SCOPE tools can highlight the effectiveness of high-quality TA providers like TechnoServe. The results from our assessments show a clear improvement in the professionalism of the organizations TechnoServe trained and provide the data to prove it. Our objective and standardized process also makes it easy to compare those results with other organizations.
The project’s results are impressive
When the first phase of the project ended, improvement was already very visible: thirty-five cooperatives businesses were strengthened and 160 managers were trained in various business and technical skills. Furthermore, 5,500 farmers were trained in good agricultural practices and 7,700 farmers in operational management. Sixteen different projects are working with over two thousand women to create income-generating activities, and 22,700 households have been trained in improving nutrition.
These trainings produced stunning results: the average yield for farmers increased by a whopping 62%. Farmers’ incomes increased by 28%. The women who took part in the income generating activities saw a 24% increase in their income. Also, the farming organization’s businesses grew stronger, as demonstrated by the development of business and growth plans as well as corporate organizational structures.
The future looks promising
In the coming years, Pro-Planteurs intends to continue their work in Côte d’Ivoire. By the time Phase II ends in 2025, the goal is to reach 30,000 cocoa farmers and their cooperatives. Considering their successes so far, Pro-Planteurs seems well situated to continue improving farmers’ lives and professionalizing the Ivorian cocoa sector.
Are you interested in obtaining amazing results like this yourself? Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve impressive project results.
 SCOPE scores organization’s business acumen from a level of 1 (very weak) to 5 (very strong). SCOPE scores offer a method of incrementally improving the business operations of an agribusiness, cooperative, producer organization, and agri-SME.