West Africa 2023

To balance sustainable global supply chains and create local resilient food systems, Solidaridad West Africa supported 67,177 farmers with inputs and capacity to increase food supply and address market barriers amidst the post-COVID food and economic crises. In 2023, our focus on carbon mitigation and circularity led to the establishment of climate-friendly artisanal oil palm processing mills and a cashew processing factory. We equipped artisanal mines with mercury-free machinery and advocated for the responsible use of mercury.

Sierra Leone-new cashew factory-Waterloo Cashew Women Association


WAF Cocoa Result 2023

In West Africa, Solidaridad trained 1,427 stakeholders on land rights and land laws. In Ghana, this training empowered 569 women. One of them is Faustina Aberor: a cocoa farmer who advocates for women’s land rights, enhancing the awareness of women about the ownership of their farmlands.

WAF Oil Palm

The implementation of a gender policy for the Oil Palm Development Association in Ghana led to a threefold increase in the number of women chosen as executives for the association.

WAF Gold

Together with TrustAfrica, we launched a campaign against irresponsible mercury usage. This raised public awareness, prompting the declaration of a public health emergency. To improve access to formal markets, Solidaridad trained 31 small-scale mines on the CRAFT code requirements for responsible mining

WAF Food Crops

In 2023, Solidaridad West Africa trained 15,718 food crop farmers in sustainable practices such as climate-smart agriculture, post-harvest techniques and storage methods across the region.

Sierra Leone-new cashew factory-processed cashew

In Sierra Leone, we completed the construction of the first-ever automated cashew nut factory, aiding efficient processing. Solidaridad trained a total of 4,968 cashew farmers in 360 Farmer Field Schools using 80 community facilitators. A total of 200,000 polyclonal cashew seeds were planted in nurseries, out of which over 64 percent survived and were transplanted onto 1,200 hectares of agroforestry farms.



farmers trained


farmers with increased yields


CSO’s are trained or supported

West Africa 2023
West Africa 2023

Building Bridges to Sustainability

Deepen impact in four intervention areas

In the past year, we worked with zest to create sustainable opportunities for 30,152 farmers, miners and workers across the agricultural and mining sectors in West Africa to improve their working conditions, resilience and livelihoods as a whole. Building on previous years’ successes, we continued to deepen our efforts in the four interconnected result areas as seen below:

In 2023, we intensified our efforts to improve the practices of producers and workers in our region. To ensure a smooth transition to mercury-free production, six mines in Ghana were equipped with mercury-free processing equipment and trained on the proper handling, storage and disposal of mercury.  

A total of 22,639 farmers were trained in best management practices, sustainable land use, climate-smart agriculture and post-harvest techniques out of which about 14,000 improved their production and increased their incomes after adopting these practices. Also, 322,235 improved oil palm, cashew and cocoa seedlings were raised, distributed and planted on 1,480 hectares of land. 

In Ghana, 177,235 cocoa seedlings were raised and distributed to 216 farmers; the cocoa seedlings were planted on 161 hectares of both rehabilitated and newly established farms. Additionally, 5,182 hectares of land have been planted with hybrid cocoa, coffee and cashew seedlings by 7,818 farmers in Sierra Leone. As a result of training on agroforestry practices in Côte d’Ivoire, a total of 130,111 forest trees were planted by community members on 128.5 hectares of degraded lands.

In 2023, we continued our efforts to enhance farmers’ access to resources. For instance, 22 youth service provider groups were given support to deliver services to farmers. In Ghana, 14 youth service provision groups were established to provide farm maintenance services to cocoa farmers. Leveraging support from the Ghana Enterprises Agency, we successfully formalized 12 of these groups and supported 10 groups with tools and equipment to improve their service delivery. 

Notably, 157 vegetable farmers were linked to commercial buyers during business-to-business sessions to provide a ready market for their produce. 

The availability of geological data for a mine forms the foundation of mine planning and design to ensure the development of optimal extraction strategies. However, such data is not available to small-scale mines, therefore a service provider list, including geological service providers, was compiled and shared with the Ghana National Association of Small-scale Miners for use by members. 

To enhance both smallholder farmers’ and workers’ access to finance, a total of 1,268 village savings and loans associations (VSLA) comprising 38,000 members were supported with kits and trained on group dynamics and financial management. 

In Côte d’Ivoire, about 5,000 individuals were able to set up additional livelihood activities using funds from these village savings and loans associations. In Ghana, 122 farmer societies comprising 13,000 farmers were successfully linked to the Cocoa Health and Extension Division and Seed Production Division of the Ghana Cocoa Board for access to agrochemicals and cocoa seedlings. 

Across the region, we convened and or joined 20 multi-stakeholder platforms and influenced 22 policies and regulatory frameworks in the region. In Ghana, we supported cooperative representatives to develop and submit a petition to the Committee for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Ghana Cocoa Board and 30 other public offices on the destruction of cocoa farmer’s livelihood by surface mining. This advocacy initiative led to a swift response from the Cocoa Board to inspect the affected farms and address the menace. 

Solidaridad, together with the oil palm value chain actors, drafted a policy to regulate the distribution and production of oil palm seedlings in Ghana. Following the success of the Ghana Land Conference in 2022, our collaboration with public land agencies led to the establishment of a Land Sector Multi-Stakeholder Platform (LSMSP) and five technical working groups to aid decision-making on land tenure-related issues. 

In Sierra Leone, we collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to draft and validate the first national oil palm value chain policy. This is to enhance the sustainability and efficiency of the oil palm sector. 

In Côte d’Ivoire, Solidaridad trained 29 facilitators and managers of six cooperatives on international and national regulations of child protection, child labour mitigation and remediation systems to promote decent work and child labour-free oil palm production. 

We also collaborated with other non-governmental organizations to develop a strategy for establishing village savings and loans associations (VSLAs). This strategy has been adopted by the Ministry of Solidarity who decided to establish 25,965 village savings and loan associations by 2025. As part of this strategy, we supported the drafting of a law on VSLAs in the country. 

In Ghana, we continued to support 31 mines to meet the CRAFT code requirement for responsible mining, so corporate brands can source from them. 

As a strategy to transform Nigeria’s vegetable market, Solidaridad set up a Vegetable Market Aggregation Centre where farmers may sell their vegetables at a better price. This will contribute to the reduction in post-harvest losses and improved farmers’ income. 

The cashew mini factory set up in Sierra Leone provided a platform for the efficient processing of cashew nuts, bringing together farmers, aggregators, processors, marketers and exporters to reduce the bottleneck of middlemen in the marketing of cashew products.

Change that Matters Stories

Patrick Cortey, cocoa farmer and entrepreneur in Ghana


Patrick Newman Kortey has become a household name in the local Boase Sibi community in Ghana. As an entrepreneur and inspirational leader to other small-scale farmers, he has worked with Solidaridad to build a variety of businesses that supplement his income from cocoa while he establishes a strong foundation for future success.

Elvis Adu Boahen-cocoa-entrepreneur


After years away from his home village in Ghana, Elvis Adu Boahen returned as a young entrepreneur and created a successful and sustainable business that serves the cocoa value chain.

Cashew Sierra Leone


Cashews are a high value crop that can provide for a sustainable livelihood, but the harvesting and processing can be dangerous. During the shelling process, the nuts produce a liquid that can cause skin burns. A new cashew processing factory is helping female processors improve safety and productivity.

Sustainability Solutions

Farmers in Ghana make use of Solidaridad’s digital resources.

Innovating for change

Enhancing Sustainability through Digitization

In 2023, we harnessed digital solutions to bridge the gap between service providers, buyers, miners and farmers. These solutions contributed to enhanced efficiency in the supply chains we work in.

The Extension Solution, an application that enables extension workers to assist farmers in achieving best management practices, was tailored to meet the artisanal small-scale mining sector, particularly addressing the CRAFT code requirements for responsible mining.

To address emissions associated with artisanal processing with increased incomes and improved health as co-benefits, Solidaridad, in collaboration with the UNDP,  upgraded an artisanal small-scale oil palm processing mill to promote energy efficiency and utilize waste.

A USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) feature was integrated into the harvest alert platform which onboarded 4,859 smallholder farmers, mills and aggregators to facilitate the timely evacuation of fresh fruit bunches. The feature enables farmers to accept and send requests, while accessing upcoming evacuation appointments with aggregators and mills even in hard-to-reach areas where internet access is limited or unavailable.

During the Ghana Association of Agricultural Economists conference, Solidaridad shed light on the pressing challenges facing both global supply chains and local food systems. We emphasized the importance of striking a balance between the two, and further elaborated on the dynamics of production to ensure the sustainability and resilience of food systems at both global and local levels.

Commodities results

Advancing Sustainability Across Commodity Supply Chains

From cocoa and oil palm to gold and food crops, our initiatives aimed to foster environmental stewardship, gender inclusivity and community development. This was done through targeted training programmes, policy advocacy and innovative initiatives.

West Africa Cocoa

In West Africa, Solidariad trained 1,427 stakeholders on land rights and land laws. In Ghana, this training empowered 569 women, such as Faustina Aberor, a cocoa farmer, who advocates for women’s land rights, enhancing their awareness of ownership of their farmlands. 

In Sierra Leone, we deepened the knowledge of 600 project participants on land laws, including the Land Right Act 2022, the Land Commission Act 2022, and the National Cocoa Policy. Additionally, in Côte d’Ivoire, 85 farmers were educated on the forestry law which promotes gender equality, resulting in increased voluntary support from men to encourage women’s land ownership rights in their communities. 

Solidaridad in West Africa intensified its efforts to combat child labor in the cocoa supply chain, training 249 executives in Ghana, sensitizing 23,083 community members in Cote d’Ivoire, and enhancing the knowledge of 106 law enforcement officers on child labor issues. 

In Sierra Leone, 1,642 farmers have been enrolled on the Cocoa Trace platform to enhance traceability and transparency in the supply chain. 

We promoted gender inclusion, training 166 cooperative members in Ghana and fostering affirmative action in cooperatives.

Two artisanal processing centres were upgraded into climate-smart mills to enhance energy efficiency, waste management, oil extraction and quality issues. Also, eight artisanal mills were upgraded in Nigeria to provide over 400 smallholder farmers access to improved milling technologies. A total of 6,521 farmers applied best management practices to improve their oil palm yields.

The implementation of a gender policy developed with the support of Solidaridad for the Oil Palm Development Association in Ghana led to a threefold increase in the number of women chosen as executives for the association.

Solidaridad facilitated a multi-stakeholder platform that fosters a commitment towards eliminating mercury use in gold mining in Ghana, and to promote the adoption of environmentally friendly innovations and practices. 

Together with TrustAfrica, we launched a campaign against irresponsible mercury usage through the broadcast of the Poisoned for Gold documentary on social media and national media outlets. This raised public awareness, prompting the declaration of a public health emergency. To improve access to formal markets, Solidaridad trained 31 small-scale mines on the CRAFT code requirements for responsible mining. We also collaborated with stakeholders advocating for the repeal of the Environmental Protection Agency Law L.I 2462, to protect forest areas from mining activities. Additionally, West Africa established 40 Community Child Protection Committees in our operational communities in Ghana to safeguard vulnerable children.

In 2023, Solidaridad West Africa trained 15,718 food crop farmers in sustainable practices such as climate-smart agriculture, post-harvest techniques and storage methods across the region. This included 8,661 vegetable, maize and potato farmers in Nigeria and 7,057 maize and rice farmers in Ghana. In Sierra Leone and Nigeria, Solidaridad supported 9,051 farmers with seeds and seedlings of groundnut, rice maize, tomato, okra, pepper and cassava in 2023. To ensure continuous access to quality inputs, we set up a Farmers’ Input Distribution Investing System (FIDIS) benefiting close to 5,000 farmers in Nigeria. We also established 32 potato demonstration plots to facilitate hands-on practical training for farmers.

In Sierra Leone, we completed the construction of the first-ever automated cashew nut factory, to aid efficient processing. Solidaridad trained a total of 4,968 cashew farmers in 360 Farmer Field Schools using 80 community facilitators. A total of 200,000 polyclonal cashew seeds were planted in nurseries, out of which over 64 percent survived and were transplanted to 1,200 hectares of agroforestry farms. Additionally, Solidaridad trained 5,378 cotton farmers and 136 master trainers in Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo on good practices and certification standards. These farmers were grouped into 138 village savings and loans associations to improve access to finance.

Organization & governance

Working together

Strengthening Capacity to Yield Impactful Results

Solidaridad West Africa appointed two new country representatives for Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and worked to create a diverse and inclusive workforce.

West Africa Organization

The region completed a comprehensive process to review the existing organizational Human Resource Manual, introduced new policies and updated existing ones to better align with the evolving needs of our staff. Following a rigorous recruitment process, we recruited 20 interns and volunteers to support our operations in West Africa. Additionally, we were able to attract top-tier talent to fill key leadership roles. As of December 2023, we had 132 staff spread across the region. 

Solidaridad West Africa Staff by the end of 2023 per country and gender

We intensified efforts to create a more diverse workforce in the region, which included a deliberately competitive recruitment process to hire qualified females. This collaborative effort increased female representation at the programmatic level. To support fundraising initiatives and skills development, we organized staff into thematic clusters, aiming to facilitate collaboration between internal subject matter experts and younger professionals. This setup fosters interaction and mentoring and ultimately aids in the achievement of our fundraising objectives. Following a comprehensive needs assessment, leadership recognised the critical need to provide training for staff in fundraising to enhance their knowledge and skills. This initiative supported staff to identify unsolicited and solicited funding opportunities, which significantly increased the funding portfolio.

During 2023, we scaled the use of an activity tracker across all projects to enhance project data capture and effective programme implementation. To ensure data quality, a Results Quality Audit (RQA) was deployed. Feedback from the audit was given to the country leads and programme managers to enhance their planning and implementation for the ensuing year. 

A total of 9 evaluations were conducted which included regional-level studies, such as baselines for the programmes Pathways to Prosperity and Acting Now and other country-level outcome assessments and learning surveys. Key recommendations from the various evaluations was for Solidaridad to broaden its training scope to encompass training in labor, gender, food safety, and financial literacy, alongside farming practices. Moreover, the need to engage youth and integrate gender perspectives became more evident given the aging trend of farmers. 

Facilitating farmers’ access to financial services through initiatives like savings and loan associations and mobile money remains crucial to our work. There is a need for regular follow-ups with beneficiaries to address challenges in adopting good agricultural practices. Leveraging mobile technology for digital extension services is suggested for wider impact. 

Enhancing land tenure security and promoting sustainable cocoa farming practices are pivotal for long-term farming success, and calls for collaboration with stakeholders. In the mining sector, integrating mercury-free equipment and supporting mine development plans are yielding positive outcomes, while efforts to streamline licensing processes and enhance training quality could effectively address industry challenges.

In 2023, our communication efforts in West Africa were strategically directed towards enhancing programme visibility, strategic media engagement, and effectively engaging stakeholders across various platforms.

Solidaridad West Africa contributed 26 news articles and success stories for publication on the Solidaridad global website, highlighting our regional achievements and impact. 

Our inaugural podcast series, “Sustainable Commodities,” was launched in Ghana. The podcast provided a platform to connect with all our stakeholders and presented an opportunity to share some perspectives guided by our years of operations. Five episodes discussing various topics, including access to finance as a driver of sustainable agriculture, gender mainstreaming in supply chain development, and from backyard to fork: A conversation on home farming in Ghana provided insights into our corporate and programme initiatives and enhanced our global visibility. Currently, we have 378 visitors on Spotify.

Over 2,000 branded materials, brochures, and 40 easy-to-read flyers were produced to effectively communicate programme outcomes and enhance corporate visibility in alignment with the Solidaridad brand guide. Twenty-nine short videos were created to demonstrate programme successes and engage audiences across various platforms. 

Our social media platforms, Facebook, X, and LinkedIn collectively amassed a followership of more than 16,000, which facilitates regular dissemination of relevant content and significantly improves corporate visibility. Our new Solidaridad West Africa LinkedIn page, established in 2022, saw astronomical growth gaining 2,360 followers in 2023. We utilised these channels to disseminate over 1,000 key project activities and results, reaching external audiences.

Three regional newsletters were distributed, highlighting new interventions and showcasing the tangible results of our work to stakeholders. A knowledge product focusing on gender was developed, contributing to our commitment to gender mainstreaming in our programmes and projects.

Corporate visibility was enhanced through the exhibition of Solidaridad’s work in the various supply chains we intervene in at six key stakeholder events, including World Food Day (Sierra Leone) and SARA in Cote d’Ivoire. In Ghana, it included the Coconut Festival, Agropack and the SIPAB. We also organised the Home Gardening Initiative as part of our work in food systems. This brought together home gardeners, industry experts, development investors, farm input vendors and service providers.  

Through strategic media engagements across digital, print, television, and radio platforms in all operational countries, Solidaridad garnered over 100 news publications, reaching an estimated audience of over 500,000. We also secured 10 speaking slots for senior officers to engage stakeholders on relevant themes, amplifying our regional impact and presence. This includes the Coconut Festival, the Amaly Legacy Podcast, and the Agropack exhibition, further amplifying our regional impact and presence.


Solidaridad in West Africa realized a total income of 13.1 million euros in 2023 compared to 12.3 million euros realized in 2022, representing a 7 percent increase. This feat was achieved due to our successes in project implementation from previous years, and collaboration with other Solidaridad entities and partners.

Income generated from private sector companies went up from 1.8 million euros to 3.4 million euros, representing an increase of 88 percent. Most of the private sector investments came from cocoa companies to finance interventions that address development challenges plaguing the sector, such as climate-smart cocoa production, deforestation, child labor and climate change. Income from other organisations reduced from 5.4 million euros in 2022 to 4.1 million euros in 2023, representing a reduction of 24 percent. This is a result of the limited budget for closing out our EU-funded projects in Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2023. Efforts were, however, made to secure income from organizations other than the EU, most of which started with a minimal budget in the latter part of 2023.

The region’s expenditures in 2023 increased from 12.3 million euros to 13.2 million euros, representing an increase of 7 percent. Investment in cocoa programmes represents 56 percent of our expenditure, followed by oil palm at 20 percent, climate and other food security programmes at 19 percent and the gold programme at 5 percent. Out of the expenditure of 13.1 million euros, 20 percent was spent on employee welfare, 10 percent on other costs and 68 percent on other programme implementations. To ensure improved quality delivery of services, staff salaries were adjusted to cater to the depreciation of local currency across West Africa, thus increasing employee expenses slightly by 5 percent. The year ended with a deficit of 53,000 euros.