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.
Call for applications 2021
Are you a smallholder producer group or cooperative certified and/or a member of the UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification system?
Do you want to improve your capacity to implement data-driven and risk-based innovations to improve your certification process and create positive impact for the longer term for your members?
Apply for the Africa Cocoa Fund from May 24th to July 7th 2021
The Africa Cocoa Fund (ACF) has been set up to provide financial and technical assistance 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
- Support sustainability projects for cocoa farmers and their landscapes beyond our certification requirements.
Through ACF’s support, certified smallholder producer groups, cooperatives and farmers or vulnerable members who need support will become empowered to monitor their performance, improving their ability to use and access data and enhance their capacity to make informed decisions for their long-term continuous improvement.
During this time window, the ACF encourages members and groups with common sustainability issues or challenges and who are operating in the same geographical area to consider sending joint applications.
You can apply if you are located in:
- Côte d’Ivoire
you are a member or certificate holder or smallholder producer group with limited technical assistance support through supply chain partners or other channels
you are member or certificate holder or smallholder producer group that already had ample access to technical assistance or you’re a private cooperative. Your application will be considered if a) there is additional 1:1 co-financing by a supply chain actor or if b) the initiative is part of a Public-Private Partnership.
All projects under the ACF will be driven by farmers and intend to create positive impact for the longer term.
Which interventions can a producer group or cooperative apply for?
Two categories of interventions are available to be supported through the ACF as laid below.
A producer group or cooperative can select several combinations of these eligible interventions or propose other types of intervention for which they require funding.
Category A – Primary focus
Interventions that support and build the capacity of certified cocoa farmers in West and Central Africa, who most need assistance to implement our standards and assurance requirements.
- A1. Addressing child labor: implementing CLMRS, Assess & Address, Remediation actions, and gender & youth inclusion
- A2. Geodata – location points and polygon collection: collecting location points and polygons to enable compliance with the High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, forest protection and protected area criteria of the standard
- A3. Digitization of 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.
Category B – Secondary focus
Interventions that go beyond the requirements of our certification programs, but that are aligned with our organizational strategy and core intervention.
- B1. Income diversification
- B2. Skill development: coaching and negotiations, local advocacy, Internal Management System (IMS) and personal development
- B3. Landscape level issues: linking certification to landscape and communities including contribution of tree ownership to increased use of shade trees
- B4. Data-driven innovative solutions and scale up of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), soil health and other climate-smart strategies
- B5. Living income: proof of concept about paying living income to farmers
Which other terms and conditions apply to the ACF grants?
During this second call for applications we’ll distribute US$1,350,000 out of the total US$5 million fund. There will be additional calls for applications later this year and in 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 application period).
We expect a maximum of 20 awards this round
- 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 a project. This amount includes the payment for the services of implementing partners and consultants.
- Interventions must be implemented between 6 months to 2 years after contracting.
What are the criteria for assessment and selection of grantees?
The following selection criteria will be used to assess and rate intervention applications:
- 40% – Relevance and alignment with priority intervention areas of the ACF
- 30% – Positive impact and sustainability of the intervention
- 30% – Cost-effectiveness, financial and operational potentials of a group
What to expect after submitting the ACF application?
- All applications received 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 from July 12th to 30th, 2021.
- 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.
How and when can I submit my application?
Please visit ra.org/acf to complete our application form in either English or French.
The deadline for the submission of applications is July 7th 2021.
For further clarification, please send an email to us at email@example.com.
Certified groups or cooperatives or members interested in applying for funding are encouraged to contact us as soon as possible. We can help by sense-checking ideas and highlighting synergies with other initiatives within and outside your location.
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 2021?
In 2021, we anticipate spending $ 1, 350, 000 of the total fund.