The project was designed to demonstrate, on a pilot project basis, how crop diversification, if implemented with proper means and caution, could bring profit both to the smallholder producers and to the financial institutions which underwrote their funding. Through this process food security was promoted, as essential staple crops such as rice, cassava, yam and plantain which can substitute imports, were selected under the diversification process.
The project sought to set up a credit scheme which would enable targeted farmers to diversify their income base through the development of additional crops or livestock activities thereby reducing their dependence on coffee production. It also assisted in enhancing the willingness and capacity of existing institutions' to provide micro finance to farmers for crop diversification.
In both countries, the project strengthened the agricultural credit system and expanded the credit schemes to integrate the credit activities relating to diversification of crops. The project built up a more sustainable scheme with a direct link between farmers and financial institutions. Strengthening the capabilities of coffee-growers’ co-operatives, by providing them with improved access to credit and encouraging diversification in their agricultural activities helped reduce the impact of the coffee crisis on the economies of coffee-exporting developing countries and their rural populations. Despite civil unrest in the Côte d’Ivoire, overall results were positive particularly regarding the diversification activities and credit uptake. The project activities were completed in 2012. The project completion report can be accessed above.