Blockchain technology tested in Côte d’Ivoire cocoa sector offers sustainable solution

A lack of traceability in the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire is a is a major issue, but French NGO, Nitidae, said it believed blockchain technology could provide a solution that would fight fraud and promote ethical production.

The ‘Cocoblock’ experience

As part of its project to promote the use of blockchain in agriculture, the CTA launched a call for proposals in September 2018, resulting in its initiative ‘Cocoblock’ that ran from February 2019 to April 2020.

With the help of British firm Gaiachain, Nitidae devised a traceability system using blockchain that would limit fraud, reduce transaction costs and increase production profit margins in a sustainable way.

A pilot application was developed and tested with a cooperative in the Mé region, the Producteurs de cacao biologique de la Mé (PCBM)

The cocoa industry is at a crossroads in Côte d’Ivoire, the CTA said in its blog​. “Yields remain very low, and fraud relating to the quality of organic cocoa is common, fuelled by the lack of an effective traceability system. The sector needs to find solutions: blockchain technology seems particularly well suited to help meet these challenges​.”

It said a total of 161 PCBM members were involved in the Cocoblock project within the pilot area – 306 ha of plots, grouped in the three villages of Diasson, Mébifon and Biéby. The project mapped the entire value chain, from harvest to port and integrated data on the various key stages into the blockchain. The farmers, who were trained on site and fully involved in the project, were able to test the technology under real conditions, involving the tracing of almost 500 kg of cocoa.