SLADF Grant: Improving Yields and Quality Standards in the Sierra Leonean Cocoa Sector Project

In 2018, Capitol Foods secured a $600,000 grant from the Sierra Leone Agribusiness Development Fund (SLADF) for its pioneering project, ‘Improving Yields and Quality Standards in the Sierra Leonean Cocoa Sector.’ This initiative aimed to collaborate with rural farmers to enhance cocoa quality and yields. It also marked the establishment of Sierra Leone’s first Cocoa Mass Processing Line, aimed at bolstering local value-addition and ultimately elevating prices for farmers.   

As part of this initiative, we undertook several key actions: 

• Training Farmers: We have conducted training sessions for 2831 farmers on various topics, including good agricultural practices (GAP), integrated pest and disease management techniques, and farm establishment and management.   

• Certification of produce: Capitol Foods has certified the cocoa produced by our farmers according to European Union Organic standards and USDA NOP Organic Standards. Capitol facilitates annual audits of the farmers and the supply chain. We are proud to announce that all 2831 farmers are now certified as Organic Cocoa Farmers. 

• Capitol’s Cocoa Farm Rehabilitation Initiative: Capitol embarked on an ambitious rehabilitation initiative aimed at revitalizing cocoa farms in the eastern region. Recognizing the decline in yields and presence of inferior varieties in many cocoa farms, Capitol took proactive steps to support farmers in improving productivity and quality.


During the project, Capitol supplied farmers with 100,000 hybrid seedlings of the T60 variety and 300,000 local seedlings of the Amazon variety. Additionally, essential farming tools, guidance, monitoring, and food-for-work assistance were provided to ensure farmers, especially those reliant on subsistence farming, were supported throughout the rehabilitation process.


As part of the initiative, Capitol established a block farm in partnership with the community of Konia Njeila. This farm serves as a demonstration plot for showcasing best practices and can be utilized for future farming training and reference purposes. 


• The Cocoa Mass Processing Line: The Cocoa Mass Processing Line has a annual capacity of 4,000 metric tons, serving both local and export markets. This initiative aims to stimulate employment opportunities and foster further development within the local community. The project prioritizes the improvement of crop quality and yields for the farmers who supply our beans. Through initiatives such as providing better cocoa seedlings, securing organic crop certification, offering agricultural training, and facilitating access to loans, farmers are empowered to scale their operations and achieve greater success. By supporting farmers in this manner, the project endeavors to secure higher prices for their produce in the global cocoa marketplace. 


• Development Centers: Capitol Foods completed the construction of two development centers: Siama FDC (Dea Chiefdom, Kailahun District) and Bunumbu FDC (Peje West Chiefdom). These centers are designed to benefit farmers in several ways. Equipped with a ‘Palava’ hut, the centers serve as meeting places for out-growers and can host training sessions. Additionally, solar drying booths are constructed to assist smallholder farmers during the drying process, providing better alternatives especially in rainy seasons. Out-growers can also utilize the fermentation centers to properly ferment their beans under a good management system, ensuring the highest quality and flavor. Moreover, the centers include storage space for Capitol’s purchased produce and offer storage to out-growers with inadequate facilities during the drying process, under a well-managed system. Furthermore, a tools bank is available to store and distribute tools and other farm inputs to farmers as needed, either for rent, sale, or donation. These development centers represent Capitol’s commitment to supporting farmers and enhancing agricultural practices in the region

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