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Drones for the certification process of cocoa production in Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire has more than a thousand agricultural cooperatives that bring together more than 4 million small and medium-sized farmers. For more than five years, many of these cooperatives, especially those involved in cocoa, have been using certification processes to better sell the products of their member farmers. Drone mapping appears to be an interesting alternative in the certification process.

What is the certification process?

The certification process consists of awarding a distinction to cooperatives that respect good agricultural practices. To do this, farmers are trained to produce in sustainable conditions, respecting the environment and fighting against child labor. A cooperative whose members are certified receives a premium paid by the final buyers of cocoa (eg Barry Callebault whose Ivorian subsidiary SACO buys certified beans) and then, 50% of this premium is paid to farmers, the other 50% returns to the cooperative in order to offer services to its members.

Mapping is an essential element in the certification process

Côte d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer of cocoa, and this crop is dominated by a group of small farmers whose area does not exceed one hectare. In the certification process, the notion of environment is important. Farmers must produce in unprotected areas, at a reasonable distance from water points and the traceability of production must be known. To do so, the cooperatives wishing to be certified must provide several documents, including the mapping of member producers' plots. They have recourse to a firm of surveyors who, with the help of a portable GPS, go around the parcels in order to know the limits, the coordinates and to produce the maps.

How the drone appears as an alternative?

In this context, the drone appears as an interesting alternative. Indeed, the drone mapping has several advantages, faster to do on the ground, more accurate (plot + image of the plot), it has several advantages both for the farmers and certification bodies such as Rainforest or Fairtrade. To this end, Investv has initiated several reflections with a group of cooperative representatives in order to launch a pilot project that will aim to identify the advantages of using drones in the mapping process in the context of certification.

The actions carried out within the framework of this pilot project can then be taken up on a larger scale, to fight generally against the land problems.


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