Certification Capacity Enhancement (CCE) is a multi-stakeholder initiative with projects for smallholders in the West African cocoa sector. The goal of CCE is to improve the living conditions of male and female farmers as well as to achieve a higher productivity and a better quality of cocoa. It has been supported and financed by the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) since 2013. Trainings on sustainable cocoa production, following the CCE curriculum, are carried out in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.

Through practice-oriented training, CCE aims to provide extensive skills and knowledge in good agricultural practices as well as in environmental and social standards to smallholders. Also, the training enables cocoa farmers to meet the requirements for a possible certification. Nine out of ten farmers who have been trained in sustainable cocoa production according to the CCE curriculum have subsequently achieved certification by one or more standards (92%).

The training initiative CCE was developed in 2010 in a collaboration of the German confectionery industry with standard-setting organizations and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

In the long term, training materials as well as the responsibility for updating them will be passed on to a qualified local training organization; access to the materials will remain public.

The CCE training curriculum for sustainable cocoa production entails modules about good agricultural practices (e.g. maintaining soil fertility, integrated crop and pest management, fertilizer application, etc.), good environmental practices (water protection, use of agrochemicals, ecosystem protection), social standards like occupational safety, health and safety and setup of farmer organizations. Another module addresses child labour, especially the worst forms of child labour on cocoa plantations.

Application of sustainability standards and certification

In close cooperation with the standard-setting organizations Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance/SAN and UTZ a training curriculum was developed that enables cocoa farmers to meet the requirements of the three relevant sustainability standards. Thereby, all training measures aiming at the certification by one or more standards can be done with the same training curriculum. It simplifies the training of the farmers, reduces costs of certification and makes it easier to access markets for sustainably produced cocoa.

Achievements of the CCE Trainings:

To date, 137 master trainers have been trained. A total of 1,705 farmer trainers in Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria have trained around 99,000 cocoa farmers up to now, including 13,000 women (around 13%). 92% achieved certification.

The yields increased by 30% to 50% on average, corresponding to an additional yield of approx. 120 to 200 kg/ha or an income improvement of USD 648 to USD 1,080 per producer family and year. Furthermore, farmers improved their organizational structures and social support in their communities.