This relatively small economy is heavily dependent on both commercial and subsistence agriculture which provides employment for more than 60% of the labour force. The major crops are: cocoa, coffee and cotton (the most important), which together generate about 30% of export earnings. Cocoa provides a direct livelihood to some 11,000 households, with additional benefits to a substantial chain of collectors, transporters, traders and various exporters.
At the time of independence, yields were low (150-200 kg/ha), but after a significant replanting programme with hybrids during the 1970s, yields improved to about 400kg/ha. The major concerns are decreasing areas and decline in production, with ageing tree stock and the resurgence of pest problems such as Black Pod, Swollen Shoot and mirids. Enthusiasm to participate in this project is driven by the need for compliance with EU directives and concerns that this may not be possible if the cocoa farmers and other stakeholders in the sector are not adequately informed and appropriately trained.