West Africa is our largest cocoa sourcing region and a focus of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. We’re working to uncover the reasons behind deforestation and other challenges in the area to help improve environmental and social conditions.
Forest preservation and restoration has an essential role to play in securing the future for cocoa farming, and Cavally is a great example of what we can do together with local communities, the government and an expert foundation.Darrell High Nestlé Cocoa Plan Manager
In Côte d'Ivoire, we are working with the government's forest agency, SODEFOR, and the non-profit organization the Earthworm Foundation on a three-year program in the Cavally Forest reserve, one of the 234 classified forests in the country.
Conducting extensive research to inform action
Since 2020, with our partners we have conducted over 750 community interviews and used satellite mapping to understand the key issues in the cocoa landscape, as well as the social and economic reasons for deforestation in the Cavally Forest reserve.
The findings are shaping a holistic action plan to help restore the reserve and improve the resilience of cocoa farmers and communities in the surrounding area.
Working on a holistic solution to improve all-round sustainability
The program's community-led patrols and a reforestation initiative are early steps towards restoring this habitat of rich biodiversity. By August 2021, 366 hectares were successfully replanted with the participation of villages receiving technical assistance, and there are plans to restore 1 500 hectares of the reserve by 2023.
We also aim to increase cocoa productivity outside of the reserve to prevent the need for illegal cultivation. Farmer training in regenerative agricultural practices and agroforestry will be key to this effort, including plantation maintenance, composting, the removal of old trees and access to nurseries with shade trees.
"Forest preservation and restoration has an essential role to play in securing the future for cocoa farming, and Cavally is a great example of what we can do together with local communities, the government and an expert foundation," said Darrell High, Nestlé Cocoa Plan Manager.
Taking a collaborative approach for long term community benefit
The program will also support the diversification of incomes from activities such as raising livestock, growing other crops and starting new businesses. We aim to help community members increase their earnings through strengthened logistics, improved market access and entrepreneurship training, all while respecting the environment.
Involving local people is critical if the changes introduced are to last. Together with community members in the reserve and our other partners, we aim to develop a model for change at scale in which landscapes can be restored and livelihoods can thrive.