The Rainforest Alliance’s Africa Cocoa Fund (ACF) is a three-year, $5 million fund to support cocoa farmers and help preserve the local landscapes in West and Central Africa. It aims to create measurable, long-lasting positive impact by building the capacity of those certified cocoa farmers who most need assistance to implement our certification standards for sustainable agriculture. The ACF will also support select sustainability projects for cocoa farmers and their landscapes beyond our certification requirements, to achieve further positive impact. The fund is part of our broader measures to strengthen the cocoa sector.
The first call for applications was opened until 2020 September 30. During this first call for applications we distributed $661 151,54 out of the total $5 million fund. There will be additional calls for applications in 2021 and 2022.
Call for applications
How and when can I apply?
The application period closed on 2020 September 30, 11:59 p.m. GMT.
Which interventions can a farm group or cooperative apply for?
Eligible interventions fall into two categories of primary and secondary focus:
Category A – Primary focus
- Addressing child labor: implementing Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System, Assess-and- Address system, remediation actions, and gender and youth inclusion
- Geodata – location points and polygon collection: collecting location points and polygons to enable compliance with the High Conservation Value areas, forest protection, and protected area criteria of our standards
- Digitization of Internal Management System (IMS) and traceability system: creating and maintaining records in digital format to increase trustworthiness and reliability of records, developing capacity for data analysis to enhance performance of the group, enabling groups to overcome quality and business challenges by making decisions backed by data and with cross-functional visibility
- Agroforestry and shade implementation: estimating and implementing materials to meet the shade requirements, farm rejuvenation and forests restoration activities
Category B – Secondary focus
- Income diversification
- Skill development: coaching and negotiations, local advocacy, IMS and personal development
- Landscape level issues: linking certification to landscape and communities, including contribution of tree ownership to increased use of shade trees
- Data-driven innovative solutions and scale up of integrated pest management, soil health and other climate-smart strategies
- Living income: proof of concept about paying living income to farmers
Which other terms and conditions apply to the ACF grants?
- During this first call for applications we distributed US$661 151,54 out of the total US$5 million fund. There will be additional calls for applications in 2021 and 2022. A producer group or cooperative can receive maximum two ACF grants during the lifetime of the fund (but not more than one grant per one call for applications). We expected a maximum of 10 awards this round and granted 8 projects.
- The interventions of the ACF will mostly be technical assistance. A producer group or cooperative applying for support will select an eligible intervention and provide further details on proposed activities and expected impact in the application.
- A producer group or cooperative can include several combinations of eligible interventions.
- A producer group or cooperative can, under specific conditions, apply for in-kind grants such as the provision of technology or equipment. For more information about these specific conditions, please contact us directly. Each request will be reviewed case by case during the application process.
- One producer group or cooperative can receive a grant of US$30,000-150,000 for all its interventions combined. This amount includes the payment for the services of implementing partners and consultants.
- Interventions must be implemented between 6 months to 2 years as necessary.
The following selection criteria will be used to assess and rate intervention applications:
- Relevance and alignment with priority intervention areas of the ACF – 40%
- Positive impact and sustainability of the intervention – 30%
- Cost-effectiveness, financial and operational potentials of a group – 30%
What to expect after submitting the ACF application?
- All applications will be reviewed by our Project Manager (PM), in consultation with other Rainforest Alliance staff. Following this, the PM will share the selection results with applicants.
- Together with the Rainforest Alliance staff, the PM will work with selected applicants to select an implementing partner (IP) or consultant (C).
- Together, the selected applicant and the IP/C will co-develop the intervention, strengthening the proposal and will agree on a logical framework and budget for implementation.
- Rainforest Alliance will conduct due diligence on the producer group or cooperative and a written contract will be signed by all the partners to clearly define roles and responsibilities.
Who can I contact for more information about the call for applications?
For further clarification, please send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certified groups or cooperatives interested in applying for funding are encouraged to let us know as soon as possible. We can help by sense-checking ideas and highlighting synergies with other initiatives within and outside your location. You are also welcome to join our virtual information session.
General questions about the Africa Cocoa Fund
Which countries are covered by the ACF?
The geographical scope of the ACF consists of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria. Considering the scale of our certification programs in each country, we intend to spend at least 50% of the funds in Côte d’Ivoire.
Will the projects to benefit farmers be implemented by the farmers themselves?
The projects under the ACF will be implemented by recognized local (or locally based international) implementing partners, such as organizations specialized in providing technical assistance and capacity building to smallholder farmers. These partners then provide the agreed services to the certified farmer groups. Where needed, the ACF will match the needs of beneficiary farmer groups with such an implementing partner. Individual service providers can also be contracted when this is the most effective and efficient option. Farmer groups themselves can, under specific conditions, apply for in-kind grants such as the provision of technology or equipment. For more information about these specific conditions, please contact us directly. Each request will be reviewed case by case during the application process.
Is the total of the $5 million benefitting farmers?
As per standard business practices, the Rainforest Alliance will recover costs incurred to manage the fund. However, the fund will not be charged for the time of dozens of Rainforest Alliance experts, regionally and globally, who will provide advice and guidance.
How is COVID-19 impacting the ACF?
COVID-19 will have an effect on the ACF implementation as long as there are travel and other restrictions that hamper free movement that would hinder activities in the field.
Can funds be requested for COVID-19 related purposes?
This can be considered as part of activities related to the basic principles of the fund.
How long will the ACF run?
The ACF will run for a maximum of three years: from June 2020 to May 2023.
How much of the ACF is expected to be spent in 2020?
During our startup year in 2020, we anticipate spending $ 500.000 of the total fund.