Under the EU-funded WACOMP programme in Sierra Leone, UNIDO has been implementing a cocoa farmer coaching initiative in Kono, Kenema, and Kailahun districts. The aim of this initiative is to enhance productivity and yield by providing targeted technical support to cocoa farmers through coaching and training.
Through personalized guidance and training, UNIDO helps farmers improve their farming practices in various areas. This includes optimized planting and nursery techniques, effective pest and disease management, and efficient post-harvest processing methods. By adopting modern and sustainable farming techniques, cocoa farmers in these districts are empowered to increase productivity and achieve higher yields.
In February and April 2023, UNIDO conducted coaching sessions and practical exercises involving over 200 producers. These interactive sessions allowed farmers to share their experiences and expectations, enabling UNIDO to identify additional factors hindering cocoa plantation improvements. Issues such as damage to the floral area during harvest, inadequate removal of diseased fruits, and disorderly plantations were recognized and addressed in the action plan.
Practical demonstrations on pruning, black pod management, and tree density management were carried out by UNIDO to raise awareness among farmers about the importance of improving harvest practices and implementing the proper collection of diseased fruits. This sensitization is crucial to protect the farms from diseases like black pods.
Moving forward, UNIDO will continue the farmer coaching initiative and focus on introducing innovative tools and methodologies to further empower cocoa farmers in Sierra Leone. The goal is to continue supporting their growth and development in the cocoa sector.