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Impact assessment of cocoa interventions in Vanuatu

This SRA aims to evaluate the effect of adopting of ACIAR interventions in cocoa in Vanuatu.
It will:
1. Investigate whether ACIAR project interventions training in pruning, black pod management, and rat control, chocolate competition and chocolate tasting's triggered adoption of improved production and post-harvest best management practices.
2. Investigate whether adoption of production and post-harvest best management practices resulted in higher yield, improved quality, and increased prices.
3. Draw lessons to guide future interventions in cocoa in the Pacific.
ACIAR has focused on cocoa research in the South Pacific (HORT/2006/009, HORT/2008/046, PARDI/2011/001), as well as in Indonesia (HORT/2010/011) and Papua New Guinea (HORT/2012/026).
In the past decade, an ACIAR scoping study (HORT/2006/009) concluded that Vanuatu (and the Solomon Islands) could become a significant cocoa producer and exporter. Project HORT/2008/046 trained locals to prune cocoa trees, manage black pod, and control rats. Project PARDI/2011/001 concluded that cocoa farmers would only adopt recommended production practices if they had better access to niche markets.
PARDI/2011/001 connected cocoa producers to Australian and US chocolate makers. To have access to these niche markets, farmers had to change their postharvest practices (fermenting and drying) to improve the quality of cocoa beans. These ACIAR interventions aimed to make Ni-Vanuatu smallholder cocoa farmers more competitive. No evidence shows whether farmers adopted the promoted practices, or whether adoption improved welfare.
ACIAR evaluated the effect of cocoa projects in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (IAS89) and examined the effect on the private sector using cocoa case-studies (IAS90). No rigorous study has yet shown the effect of the interventions from Pacific research. This SRA complements the work of three ACIAR project in the Pacific: the PARDI II umbrella project, AGB/2014/057, and HORT/2014/078.