Key Factors for Successful Living Income Programs

By Molly Leavens

With programs now underway around the world, living income is no longer just an idea. In collaboration with the Living Income Community of Practice, we have distilled 16 of the key factors for their success.

In May, Food Lab staff visited Côte d’Ivoire for the Evidence in Living Income Programmes workshop, hosted by the Living Income Community of Practice (LICOP). The workshop brought together cooperative leadership and producers, local and international NGOs, the Côte d’Ivoire government, brands, trading houses, and academics. The full workshop learning brief can be found here. In addition to the workshop, we each had an array of meetings and field visits with different partners, primarily focusing on cocoa but not exclusively.

Our trip to Côte d’Ivoire highlighted innovations that have occurred over the past decade in farmer livelihood and sector alignment around living income. As we spoke with program implementors and heard from workshop panelists, we heard more about which factors have been key for successful living income programs. We categorized the 16 key factors below according to a company’s three pathways of influence, as defined in the Living Income Community of Practice company toolkit.

This list of 16 key factors is, of course, not exclusive. It is also not surprising that a dynamic enabling environment requires strong governance, shared risk and value, and multiple pathways to achieve a living income. The workshop most strengthened our understanding in the specificity of program implementation – the importance of cooperative ownership and segmented interventions – and the inter-dependent responsibilities of each stakeholder. The Living Income Community of Practice was founded in 2016, and since then, our understanding of living income has evolved from an idea to a well-understood target with clear metrics for evaluating progress. The recent workshop helped ground the concept of living income in the reality of Ivorian farmers.

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