Published November 27, 2023 | Version v1
Publication Open

Different households – different challenges?

  • 1. Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg,
  • 2. Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg,
  • 3. Université Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan,
  • 4. Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg,
  • 5. Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg,


Over the past decade, in West African cocoa production, efforts to deliver training on more sustainable production techniques or on more business-oriented farm management have been undertaken by various public and private actors. Yet, the success of these interventions seems to be limited, especially given the continuous low incomes of cocoa farmers, high rates of deforestation and many other persisting challenges in the cocoa sector. 

Focusing on the variances between different household types in their perceptions regarding most pressing challenges, difficulties with the application of training contents, and needs for change, this study seeks to contribute to an improved understanding of impact factors for successful sustainability interventions and the achievement of a Living Income. The main research questions are as follows: How do household characteristics impact cocoa farmers' livelihoods and production challenges, including the ability to adapt training contents? Where do the different household types see most need for change regarding sustainability interventions and in their local enabling environment? 

In the frame of accompanying research, the study investigates perceptions of cocoa farmers in five cocoa areas in Côte d'Ivoire (Aboisso, Agboville, Abengourou, Divo and Yamoussoukro) targeted by the PRO-PLANTEURS project of GIZ. Most of these cocoa farmers have received training in Farmer Business Schools and other sensitization measures, such as on agroforestry and on-farm diversification in the past years. To assess household differences and related impacts, a household survey among approximately 300 targeted cocoa farmers was realized in order to quantify farmers' perceptions towards implementation of project activities and livelihood challenges. Additionally, focus group discussions with representatives of targeted cooperatives were held as well as a participatory multi-stakeholder workshop on implementation challenges and experiences was conducted. Applying Principal Component Analysis and Hierarchical Cluster Analysis based on Principal Components, four farm types have been identified for further analyses to identify farmers' particularities regarding needs and ability to apply training contents and sustainable production techniques. 

The overall objective of this accompanying research is to identify best fit strategies and enabling environments for the achievement of cocoa farmers' Living Income. By answering the presented research questions, the study seeks to provide the basis for an enhanced understanding and evaluation of strategies' success factors and opportunities for improvements of sustainability interventions.

Keywords: Cocoa, Living Income, Côte d'Ivoire, Accompanying Research


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