Care Ghana launches PROSPER project to support farming communities

CARE International in Ghana launched the PROSPER Project in Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai District and Sefwi-Wiawso Municipal Assembly respectively.

PROSPER, is a community-based intervention targeted at enhancing access to education with the provision of school infrastructure, improving nutrition behavior, strengthening women’s empowerment and building the capacity of people living in cocoa farming communities for sustainable development.

The Project was launched in a sequel at Bibiani and Sefwi-Wiawso and was well attended by stakeholders from the respective districts where the PROSPER intervention will be operational.

Addressing participants, the District Coordinating Director for Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai, John Nana Owu, expressed his appreciation for the honour done the district to host such a laudable initiative and promised to work together with all key agencies within the district to support the successful implementation of the PROSPER Project.

Harnessing on CARE’s achievements over the past 23 years, the PROPSER Project Manager, Dr. Theophilus Nkansah urged all key district stakeholders present to familiarize themselves with the core objectives of the PROSPER intervention and support in areas that aligns with their institutional mandate to make the project a success.

According to the Deputy Sustainability Country Lead for Cargill, Samuel Apana, the PROSPER project is a component of Cargill’s global Cocoa Promise, a corporate social responsibility initiative aimed at sourcing cocoa sustainably by improving the livelihoods of individuals living in cocoa growing communities and supporting community development.

The components of the cocoa promise include; farmer education, community development, farm development and farmer cooperative formation.

He also emphasized that due to CARE’s achievements and the success of previous partnerships, Cargill for the third-time running was excited to partner CARE again for the implementation of the community development pillar.

With the support of some selected lead farmers from the Project’s partner communities, representatives from the district and Cargill deputy country sustainability lead, the PROSPER project was declared duly launched.

The PROSPER project is operational in four cocoa districts – Sefwi-Wiawso, Asawinso, Anhwiaso and Awaso- in the Western Region of Ghana, within the following political districts: Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District, Sefwi- Wiawso Municipality, Akontombra District, and Juaboso District. Ultimately, PROSPER aims to promote a sustainable and food secure world.

The PROSPER project which delivers the community development component of the Cargill Cocoa Promise is a three-year intervention supported by Cargill and implemented by CARE, an international NGO with expertise in community development. Overall, the project will be rolled out in about 200 communities over the 3-year

 

Source: modernghana.com

Government to scale up cocoa production, President assures

By Ken Sackey, GNA

 

Accra, March 28, GNA – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday expressed government’s commitment to raise the country’s cocoa production level to a million tonnes.

Additionally, plans are afoot to ensure that more than 50 per cent of cocoa bean produced in the country is processed to enable Ghana derive maximum benefits and value from the commodity and make the sector lucrative.

President Akufo-Addo said this when inaugurating the Board of Directors of the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Company at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

The President noted that the activities of illegal miners, price volatility on the world market and the allegations of corruption at the Ghana Cocoa Board had contributed to the dwindling fortunes of the sector.

He said the sector being a mainstay of Ghana for over a century, ought to be accorded the necessary attention, as it contributed about a quarter of a the country’s earnings.

‘The sector has been washed with stories, which are being investigated. If these stories are true, measures will be put in place to ensure that they never occur again,’ he said.

President Akufo-Addo urged the board, chaired by Mr Hackman Owusu Agyemang, a former minister of state in the Kufuor administration, to help restore the country’s pride as a vibrant cocoa growing country.

He said the Chairman had considerable experience from the Food and Agriculture Organsiation (FAO) and indicated the other members on the board had been carefully chosen because they had the qualities to help revive the industry.

“It is an honours task, a task I am confident the calibre of men and women who are now on the board are going to be able to discharge. The Ghanaian people are looking at you. They want to see a new leaf turned in the manner in which our cocoa industry has been managed,” he said.

The President said the board would be supervised by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto, a passionate advocate for the cocoa industry.

“From where I am standing, I have put together a winning team and I am hoping that your performance will show that my judgment was right,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the board, Mr Agyemang said the team would work hard to revive the cocoa industry and achieve the government’s production target of one million tonnes of cocoa.

Other members on the board are Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO, Nana Adwoa Dokua, Nana Johnson Mensah, Nana Obeng Akrofi, Peter Atta Boakye, Charles Aduboahen and Carlos Kingsley Ahenkora.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Afforestation On Cocoa Farms – Ghana’s Approach To Reduce Carbon Emissions

Cocoa farmers receiving education on tree planting on farms photo: Sander Muilerman/WCF

Ghana has over the years witnessed huge forest loss, mainly as a result of the movements of the timber sector as well as expansion of the cocoa industry, which largely promotes zero shade cocoa production systems. This gradually has led to the shattering of the country’s forest landscapes, loss of wildlife corridors, and degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The expansion of the cocoa industry which eventually leads to forest loss is not driven by the desire to increase national production, but essentially challenge of land tenure system farmers face. Therefore, land tenure is an ongoing problem which enables forest loss through the removal of forests to establish cocoa farms. Ghana’s land tenure policy drives the lack of on-farm investment generally.

This prevents the expansion of cocoa farms via more environmentally sound production using greater shade. Consequently, there is limited incentive for farmers to plant or even maintain shade trees due to tenure issues associated with landowners, and landowners have limited rights to naturally occurring trees on their land. Awareness creation on tree tenure rights is also lacking.

Cocoa production in Ghana has been carried out in two main regions namely the moist semi-deciduous forest (Eastern, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central and Volta Regions) and high rainforest (Western Region) agro-ecological zones. Progressive conversion of forests in Ghana into cocoa fields, particularly in the Western Region, contributes to ongoing deforestation. There is a trend towards less shaded cocoa landscapes that undercuts the environmental sustainability of cocoa production and biodiversity conservation.

The sustainable production of cocoa plays a pivotal role for sustainable development, including poverty reduction. Cocoa cultivation that maintains higher proportions of shade trees (cocoa agroforestry) is increasingly being viewed as a sustainable land use practice that is environmentally preferable to other forms of agricultural activities in tropical forest regions because it contributes to biodiversity conservation.

A jointly coordinated environmental programme, known as Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme between Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) and Forestry Commission seeks to considerably reduce deforestation and degradation in the country’s cocoa landscape.

The project which would receive support from the Carbon Fund of the World Bank, aims to curb emissions driven by expansion of cocoa into forest areas, whilst also addressing illegal logging and chainsawing, as well as illegal mining.

By tackling these drivers, Ghana seeks to secure the future of its forests and make the cocoa sector climate-resilient, and at the same time sustaining and enhancing income and livelihood opportunities for farmers and forest users across the programme area. The programme covers 5.92 million hectares in five regions in Ghana-Western, Central, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti and Eastern, spanning across 92 administrative districts in the country. In addition, 79% off-reserve and 21% on-reserve areas, would be serviced by the programme. At the end of the day, a total of 12 million people almost evenly split between urban and rural areas would be encountered by the programme.

Mrs Roselyn F. Adjei, the National Focal Person for REDD+ and Forest Investment Programme Safeguards & Gender at the Forestry Commission said The Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme mainly targets cocoa growing areas in high forest zone of Ghana, with focus on commodity-cocoa.

Out of the analysis of drivers of deforestation, it was realised that agriculture expansion plays a key role and out of that cocoa stood out, she says.

“Cocoa was encroaching into forest reserve areas and farmers were just expanding their farms, leaving some of the old farms and establishing new farms. So there was the need to come together and have a programme where the cocoa benefits and the tree also benefits because they both need each other,” Mrs Adjei notes.

The main aim is to intensify cocoa production rather than to expand it within the same unit area to have more yield rather expansion, Mrs Adjei stresses.

“The amount of shades we have on cocoa farms because if cocoa farms are shaded very well, they can be classified as an open forest according Ghana’s forest definition. But without shade they are not, but with some level of shade from 15 percent canopy cover, they are classified as open forest and that will also increase forest cover,” she explains.

To ensure that farmers do not expand when productivity increases with expansion, Cocobod would also intends to put different pillars to curtail that.

“Pillars on policy and legislation, particularly on the law enforcement bit should be key because if people are getting more, they should not expand. So the law should be enforced, where the law enforcement agencies should always be on the watch to ensure people do not expand. Extension services should also go at the right time. There is the need for a lot of extension providers on the ground, even forestry extension in addition to the agricultural aspect.”

Due to the fact that in Ghana lands are owned by individuals, families, and even communities, it becomes a complex issue for even the government when it comes to acquisition.

“If they were government lands, the government can easily use them for specific purposes. But because they belong to people, you can’t just go in to oppose on them what they should do or otherwise. So it is just a matter of dialogue with individuals and conducting research on what is best suited for each land area and eventually we believe that stakeholders will get to understand or communities in particular why they need to leave a particular land for a particular land use,” she points out.

The programme also seeks to help address financial constraint encountered by farmers through the provision of finance to de-risk the cocoa sector by providing farmers with access to credit facilities.

“Cocoa is a major commodity and forms the base for beverages, so we are trying to bring private sector actors such as Nestle Ghana, Cadbury, etc. together and by making a point to them that cocoa, our natural material base is being depleted.

“This will go a long way to build up their programmes around the emissions reduction programme the country is developing so that they can tailor some of their funding be it microfinance scheme to help farmers, farmer education, inputs supply, helping with extension services, mapping of farms. That is where we think private sector can come in by getting hybrid seedlings that would be high yielding to farmers.”

At the moment the Forestry Commission has signed a memorandum of understanding with Touton Ghana which seeks to draw on Ghana’s REDD+ programme to develop their own module.

In terms of institutional arrangement, the programme is looking at forming small groups at the local level involving district assemblies, private sector actors, farmers, and other local community members to form a project management unit who would have their own management plan in place to manage the emissions reduction programme.

“What we have further gone ahead to do is the identification of deforestation hotspots, because we cannot just go into the whole landscape and begin everything. So there was an assessment on deforestation trends and hotspots and identified about six to nine hotspots. We call them hotspot intervention areas and these areas are sort of be managed like a whole programme on its own, with management body and use the same reporting structures to report to the national level.”

The Deputy Director, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Kwadwo Kissiedu Kwapong says it is supposed to improve land use and socio-economic developments in the forest zone in the cocoa growing areas.

“The issue is that it has been seen that cocoa is a major driver of deforestation in Ghana and so farmers expand their production by clearing more forests. This programme is targeting a situation where clearing more forests will not the case but already existing cocoa areas or reborn farm introduce more trees.”

“Currently the Cocobod strategy is adopting this and the recommendation is that instead of extending into forests you rather intensify an area per hectare. The focus is that cocoa production is more sustainable if it grows in a more forest condition. So far it is recommended that between 18-20 economic trees on both existing and new cocoa farms so farmers are being encouraged to do that.”

The project has gone through a stage where Ghana’s emission reduction document has been prepared and submitted to the Carbon Fund and supposed to have taken effect this month, but the final document should be submitted by April due to some changes to the document.

When the Carbon Fund approves of the document then implementation can begin.

“The idea is to get farmers not degrading the forests but planting more trees on their farms and for that matter increasing carbon stocks and when the carbon stocks increase, there will be benefits to the farmers in terms of benefits of payment. They have a target of how much carbon should be sequestered in a year over a certain period, and if Ghana is able to achieve that, the benefits in the form of cash and premium will be paid to farmers in communities who are doing this.”

Apart from increasing carbon stock, it is intended to increase the livelihood of the farmer, so while the farmer is benefiting from the carbon sequestration, it is expected that the economic trees that are planted on the farms would fetch income for the farmers.

A new law at forestry commission seeks to help farmers own those trees, and register them, he mentions. “A new document is being developed for farmers to register those trees that they planted and nurture, and when they are of age, farmers will harvest them to their benefit,” Mr Kwapong says.

The current arrangement does not allow farmers to own trees that they nurture on that farms, because the law stipulates that all naturally acquired trees belong to the state.

“So proper tree tenure arrangements are being done for farmers to own trees that they plant and nurture on their farms. The other side also is that as the trees are growing, there is going be high yield. The idea is that the more canopy you have on your cocoa farm, the higher your yield, and the higher the sustainability of your farm,” he emphases.

“Biodiversity is another thing-it is known or believe that the more unshaded your cocoa is, certain fauna are not able to live in those areas. So the more trees you introduce, the more habitat the place becomes for animals and some of them are beneficial to the farmer, so it is important we conserve the forest so that these animals can live in those areas and also support the farmer.”

Cocobod’s cocoa strategy document which is in the drafting stage, currently going through validation, supports the project and other sustainability programmes to ensure that cocoa is sustained and the livelihood of farmers who are the primary producers of cocoa benefits from their toils.

Apart from the cocoa strategy document, Cocobod has a cocoa rehabilitation arrangement which is guided by the strategy document that is also geared towards increasing cocoa production to about double the current size.

Ghana’s cocoa production peaked in the 2010/11 season at more than 1 million tonnes, dipped to under 750,000 tonnes in 2014/15 season before rebounding slightly last season.

“We are integrating climate smart cocoa arrangement in it, because it is expected we design standards that would make the farmer adopt certain practices that would make Ghana’s cocoa unique and sustainable. So we are designing a climate smart cocoa standards which would stipulates what standards a Ghanaian cocoa farmer should adopt to ensure that we sustain the environment and don’t degrade the environment and have cocoa tends out to be produced through climate smart.”

“We are training farmers, where extension officers are talking to farmers, so that farmers can grab this idea and implement on their farms to ensure that every cocoa comes out would be branded as such,” he states.

Illegal mining is a bane to sustainable development in the country, with many water bodies as well as agricultural lands destroyed in the process. One of the Major concern of Cocobod is illegal mining, he mentions.

He says Cocobod is trying to address the issue by bringing stakeholders together to forge a common solution to address the problem.

We are developing a communication strategy to get farmers and community opinion leaders to be aware of the dangers of destroying or selling farmland for someone to engage in illegal mining. Even though the communication strategy is yet to be rolled out, Cocobod periodically sensitise farmers on best farming practices on sustainability of cocoa farming using radio stations in communities.

“Ghana depends so much on cocoa and needs to be sustained. As Cocobod is on the national REDD plus committee and all the things that are being to ensure that REDD plus succeeds we are part of it and make sure we protect the cocoa environment to make coco sustainable.”

Sander Muilerman, Program Manager Climate Smart Cocoa – West Africa at the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) says the key to achieving real and sustained impact is land use planning and landscape governance in natural resources management.

It is important that companies work together and commit to end deforestation and forest degradation in the global cocoa supply chain, but this can only be truly successful when in-country it happens in partnership with all the other land use actors and stakeholders in the different cocoa landscapes.

We are opening a multi-stakeholder discussion process and seek alignment with the Ghana’s long term strategies for the cocoa, agricultural and forestry sectors, he emphasises.

“Only this can help ensure sustainable livelihoods, responsible use of natural resources, and productive cocoa farming systems; ‘people, planet and profit’. This statement of collective intent to end deforestation is but one vital step in a long process,” Mr Muilerman says.

WCF and its members focus on achieving an end to deforestation and forest degradation, basically by improving our understanding of the situation both nationally and locally, building strong partnerships and multi-stakeholder dialogue, and by aiming to keep cocoa within designated cocoa areas and convincing smallholder farmers to stay out of protected forests and national parks.

“This can only be achieved when existing cocoa farms provide sustainable livelihoods, and produce sufficient cocoa to achieve Ghana’s national production goals. The key to success is to convince and support farmers to responsibly use and intensify existing cocoa farms.

“On top of the industry’s existing efforts–among others through technical advice, professional service delivery and work on community development–the WCF is strongly focused on understanding how to make cocoa farming ‘climate-smart’.

“By understanding what it takes to make existing cocoa farming areas more resilient to climate change, we hope to ensure long-term sustainable cocoa production on current farm lands, again preventing further use of forests. Our current focus of enquiry and experimentation is for example on increasing the number of shade trees on farm, on training farmers on relevant climate-smart practices, and on considering the farmer business case of various agroforestry cocoa farming systems,” Mr Muilerman said.

Credit: Under the aegis of the CSE Media Fellowships Programme

 

Source: modernghana.com

Nestlé Partners With International Cocoa Initiative To Build Inclusive And Resilient Communities

Chief of Trede in the Ashanti Bekwai Municipal presenting the bamboo bike to one of the Farmers

 

Nestlé and ICI have deployed the first ever private sector child labour monitoring and remediation system. The event took place at a launch ceremony in Ashanti Bekwai of the Ashanti Region. Speaking at the event, the Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Manager of Nestlé Ghana, Mrs. Ama Amoah said: “At Nestlé, we believe that there is no place for child labour in our value chain”.

Nestlé as a company is committed to “enhancing the quality of life and contributing to a healthier future’. We do this by ensuring happy healthy lives for individuals and families, by building resilient communities and caring for the planet. We are guided by the values of respect, for self, others, diversity and the future.

In Ghana, through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, Nestlé has built 3 schools, and 8 bore holes in communities within the Eastern and Ashanti regions.

Nestlé is the first cocoa buyer to set up a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation system, in partnership with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). This system combines different methodologies ranging from data gathering about the prevalence of child labour violations within the cocoa value chain, and putting in pace specific measures to remediate children identified.

Through a farmer- community- supplier based approach, Child Labour Monitoring Agents help to devise and organise specific intervention efforts needed to help each child whiles supporting the data gathering process.

Nestlé on its part, funds the system by paying directly or by paying premium to the farmers for good quality cocoa that meets certification standards. In Ghana, Nestlé also helps farmers to improve their productivity by training them with good agricultural practices.

The joint collaboration with Ghana Bamboo bikes Ltd. will provide easy access to communities to facilitate the monitoring and remediation system. This initiative is worth commending and is one of the ways of promoting private- private partnerships.

 

Source: modernghana.com

A Dip In Global Prices Creates Cocoa Crisis For Ivory Coast’s Farmers

By: Alex Duval Smith

Farmer Georges Kouamé Koffi holding two cocoa pods. Chocolate is made from the almond-sized cocoa beans contained in the pods.

Alex Duval Smith for NPR

In all his 50 years, Georges Kouamé Koffi has eaten chocolate once. “Someone gave me a piece to try,” says the cocoa farmer. “It was lovely.” Chocolate bars are on sale at a store in his city of San Pedro, in southwestern Ivory Coast. “But they are too expensive for us,” he says.

His family – he has a wife and three children – will eat only grated cassava tonight, as it has on most days since last October when Kouamé Koffi handed a buying agent the first of the 2.8 tons of cocoa he produced this season. All he has to show for his back-breaking work on 12 steamy acres are two receipts – effectively IOUs from a buying agent, who is trying to sell the beans to a wholesaler. Kouamé Koffi is owed just over 3 million CFA francs (about $4,850) for his 2.8 tons, but he is still waiting for his payment.

Seventy per cent of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa. And in Ivory Coast, the biggest cocoa producer in the world, six million people – a quarter of the population – are estimated to depend on the crop for a living.

And Kouamé Koffi is among hundreds of thousands of Ivorians currently suffering from the knock-on effects of a devastating cocoa crisis brought on by a range of factors that are beyond their control. These include the lowest cocoa price on the New York Stock Exchange in eight years, high rainfall creating a bumper harvest, a dip in the world’s appetite for chocolate, price fixing, speculation, politics and the mood swings of hedge funds.

As his wife, Janine Allini, 35, grates the white flesh out of a cassava root for dinner, Kouamé Koffi explains: “We grow a little cassava but that is for eating at home. We use the money from the cocoa for everything: the fields, the family, the children’s school fees.”

Until this year Kouamé Koffi had no trouble meeting those expenses. He says until now, “cocoa has been good to us.” His crop yield doubled between 2011 and 2016. Last year he was even able to buy a family vehicle – a motorbike.

But “we are now in debt, even to the local school,” says Kouamé Koffi. “Sometimes the teacher sends them home. He says, ‘Go, tell your parents to send the money’. I’m scared. I’m scared for the future of my children.”

All his neighbors are cocoa farmers too, and are struggling under similarly uncertain circumstances.

Last October, when the Ivorian government set the national price for this year’s harvest, it promised farmers 1,100 CFA Francs ($1.80) per kilo. It was a record high price supposedly based on projected international demand and a national count of budding cocoa pods. But farmers say wholesalers aren’t offering anything close to that price.

Economists say the cocoa crisis affects the entire country’s economy. “Around 30 percent of the debts of the country are in dollars,” says Youssouf Carius, managing director of Ivorian analysis firm Pulsar Partners. “If the crisis remains like this, it will impact the financial capacity … of Ivory Coast to honor that service of debt. That could be really really difficult.”

Ivory Coast ships its cocoa in processed form to the world’s cocoa wholesalers and chocolate producers. Once farmers harvest the cocoa beans from the pods, they wrap the beans in banana leaves and ferment them for about a week. Then, the beans are dried in the sun before being poured into jute bags and taken to processing plants in San Pedro, the world’s busiest cocoa exporting port.

In a large warehouse in the south-western city of San Pedro, men empty sacks of cocoa in the stifling heat. Most processing plants in the city have closed, but some are buying cocoa on the sly.

Alex Duval Smith for NPR

But right now, the port’s cranes are standing idle and the ships are nowhere to be seen. A musty smell hangs in the air around dozens of trucks still carrying fermented cocoa parked outside the Cargill processing plant near the harbor.

Driver Daouda Traoré, 46, has been waiting to unload for three weeks. He is worried that rain will damage his load. “Cargill is the only plant buying beans at the moment so we are all backed up here,” he says. “The other factories in San Pedro are closed and not taking any beans.”

He says factories are unwilling to pay the high price set by the government because it doesn’t offer them a big enough profit margin. “They are waiting to reopen when the international price goes up,” says Traoré, who claims he has never seen trucks backed up in San Pedro in such large numbers since he became a driver’s apprentice in 1988.

But cocoa is being sold in this city, on the sly. Cocoa farmers’ union representatives takes The Salt to see a truck unloading inside a huge warehouse. Thirty men – most of them bare-chested and covered in sweat – empty sacks in a dusty haze that hovers in the stifling heat. The union officials say the men are sifting the content to check for mold and sub-standard beans.

The warehouse owner, who doesn’t want to be identified, chooses his words carefully. He refuses to reveal what he paid for the beans and who he has bought them from. Asked how his business is adapting to the current cocoa crisis, he says, “We adapt.”

In Ivory Coast, it is illegal to undercut the price set by the government. And yet some farmers “are selling cocoa for as little as 600 francs (96 cents) per kilo,” says Blaise Koffi, 45, a union representative and a farmer. “They just have to, otherwise they cannot feed their families. But it is risky.” A farmer risks losing his licence if he is caught selling cocoa for less than the government price, he says.

Koffi says that in recent years, the Ivorian government has created a stabilization fund as a buffer to protect farmers against market fluctuations. But farmers say they have yet to see that money.”It is there for times like these when we need help to make up for a low international price,” says Koffi. “We want the government to trigger payments from it now.”

Sacks of cocoa beans at a warehouse in San Pedro. Coffee and Cocoa Council is the government regulator of the Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry.

Alex Duval Smith for NPR

On 15 February, several hundred cocoa farmers demonstrated in the commercial capital, Abidjan. They tried to march on the “Caisse Stab,” a building that houses the offices for those stabilization funds. But the protesters were scattered by riot police using tear gas.

After the incident, the government regulator – the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) – agreed to discussions with farmers. The CCC said it was confident it could put pressure on plants in San Pedro to reopen and resume buying cocoa.

But in San Pedro, the trucks are still backed up. On his farm, Georges Kouamé Koffi and his family have yet to receive their payment. He takes me to see some cocoa trees near his homestead. We wade through brown leaves lying ankle-deep on the ground.

Kouamé Koffi is not just worried about his children’s future. “If you look around you at the trees, you will see that the insects are in charge,” he says, referring to pests now attacking his trees. “We need money to spray chemicals. We need income to be able to take care of our fields. If we do not spray, soon the entire plantation will become a skeleton, and that would be very serious.”

 

Source: npr.org

Olam Ghana provides GH¢100m farmer funding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olam Cocoa Possessing Ghana Limited, a licensed buying company, has been providing annual farmer funding in excess of GH¢100 million to aid the growth of the nation’s cocoa industry.

The money is used primarily to support the maintenance and expansion of cocoa farms – to boost crop yield.

Mr. Clement Acherekoh, the Human Resource Manager, who announced this said, the company has additionally been supplying hybrid cocoa seedlings and shade tree seedlings to farmers.

It has so far distributed 500,000 cocoa seedlings and 155,000 shade tree seedlings to them.

He made these known at the inauguration of the refurbished Mpasatia D/A primary school building in the Atwima-Mponua District.

The company put in $11,921 to give the school a new look and Mr. Acherekoh said it did that as part of its corporate social responsibility.

Olam – a leading global agri-business operating across the value chain, has invested over $150 million in Ghana’s economy.

It had built a cocoa processing factory, a wheat flour mill and a tomato factory.

The company has created employment for about 850 Ghanaians and been supporting more than 100 seasonal workers.

Mr. Acherekoh said as a good corporate citizen, Olam would continue to stand with the people every step of the way to make things better.

“We are directing funding to initiatives and programmes that would drive socio-economic progress”, he added.

 

Source: ghanabusinessnews.com

There is Power in Cocoa

 

Ghana, and West-Africa, has not understood the true and real value of Cocoa, thinking it is a nice supreme cash crop to grow and feed families in their countries along with some revenues for their States. The White Man’s Intellect and Mentality has gone far beyond the Black Man’s old, old, old style to use GOD’s gift assigned to this part of the world.

Someone might argue Chocolate is a Sweet and can be subsidized by other Sweet products…the reality is in that case the road would be open for more Diabetes cases, more work for Doctors, burden on the Health System and National Economy as all other Sweet products on the market are full of sugar or sugar substitutes – do not taste good – with no positive health implications, but the opposite.

Cocoa-Cola (invented by a German Pharmacist in USA) used to advertise their products in Ghana with the slogan: “Open happiness” while with too much sugar it should have been correctly said: “Open Diabetes”. Today “Taste the Feeling” should convince people that sugar and brown colour makes the trick …or do sugar and brown colour have feelings? Nevertheless, these Managers – Whites – are clever after all to realize what Blacks and others fall for.

Why is it that a White Man has to come to a country with such a rich History of Cocoa growing, with 800.000 Farmers for generations being in this trade and additional 200.000 outside Farms job relating to this industry? What have you in Ghana and other West-African countries done during all those thousands of years past?

It is so sad to see for a White Man with a beautiful Ghanaian wife by his side that you Blacks do not understand the value of this wonderful GOD given product, only plant and harvest it accordingly to old traditions; while the world around you has changed and your time to make good money from the White Man and Asian folks is running out. To invest in this industry takes money and, most of all, time as a Cocoa Tree needs 4-5 years before harvesting the first fruits. A long term strategic planning is needed, inclusive of many Stake Holders and it must begin from now…now…again: now!

When Oil, Gas, Gold, Bauxite (the future in business is in feeding Nations and as they mature, give them pleasure in eating) will have been exploited and emptied the soil of Africa, Cocoa trees will still grow and make you rich…only…stop…only with a Dominion Mentality you can harvest the riches that is in the Power of Cocoa. As the world population is increasing and the living standards accordingly, the need for more chocolate in years to come is obvious. An increase in living standard always comes along with an increase in sweets as a symbol of life, as life is sweet. When people are depressed, they find comfort mostly in chocolate and not candies, alcohol, energy or soft drinks, coffee or tea or pineapple and banana, houses, clothes, handbags, new hair style, shoes or new cars. The enjoyment for the last, last only for a moment, while chocolate is there always to bring happiness to the people.

Looking at CPC Cocoa Processing Company Limited in Tema that is in the hands of Ghanaians, is bleeding my heart out to see the reduced numbers of workers with their fight to get their monthly payment for work done, accumulated debts of over USD 200 Mio., their outdated product portfolio and lack of understanding this business producing poor products against the consumer’s interest. The Governments of Ghana keep this company with the Cocoa Board only because it seems to be in the best national interest to keep the old story going. The world has moved on. The underlining philosophy about the real value of Cocoa and Chocolate is not there.

The Government is demonstrating mental identity problems to ask a man with a vision for this industry that is not connected to any of the Multi-Nationals but married to a Ghanaian with the intention only to produce the Best Chocolate in the World with clear connection to the pride Ghana should have in such wonderful Cocoa Beans they produce and lift the image of Ghana up. Ghanaians seem only to use Power to bring down their national Heritage and Pride while an independent Outsider can help to boost the country’s economy and make Ghana a renowned Trademark for Cocoa and Chocolate.

When Consumers in Europe, America and Asia find the Best Chocolate in the World on the Supermarket Shelves in their countries and in their stomach to enjoy life to the fullest, they will have a second look at the origin of production, and when seeing the country Ghana written on the back of the package, they surely will ask themselves, what other wonderful products is this country capable of producing and give to me the happiness to enjoy Africa in my home in London, Berlin, Moscow, Dubai, Bangkok and Beijing.

The exports of Ghana are limited due to image problems. It takes only one product, the strongest and best you in Ghana can offer to the world, which is Chocolate, to open the doors for further products to export. Tell the world your true and original Cocoa story, share with them your passion, your heart that beats for Cocoa… and always will. The White Man is more than interested and willing to listen to you as deep in his heart he loves you and cares for you.

All you need to do is to do the right things; get away from false Prophets in the society of Ghana, listen to people that really can help you and mandate them with their work to be done to lift Ghana up to the level it truly belongs to. Overcome your stubbornness and your fake and false pride… to be proud of what?

Independence with no money in your pockets but debts everywhere (?) …is fake! Come on Ghana, do not fool yourself like that as in the end such a Mentality is nothing but an open door once again for the White Man to take control over you. The Bible says “The Borrower is the Slave to the Lender”…you see…we still own you!

When you want to keep your independence (no one can stop you except you yourself!!!), use the Power that is in Cocoa.

Author: Dipl.-Pol. Karl-Heinz Heerde, Lashibi, Tema West, Ghana, phone +233(0)265078287, karlheinzheerde@yahoo.de , 18.01.2017

 

Source: mordenghana.com

 

Restructure COCOBOD, don’t move it to Agric Ministry- GAWU

The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has called for restructuring of the Ghana Cocoa Board(COCOBOD) to make it efficient rather than just moving it from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Shortly after the president elect, Nana Akufo-Addo hinted that the outgoing Member of Parliament for the Kwadaso constituency, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto will be the Agriculture Minister; discussions of a possible move of the COCOBOD to the Ministry of Agriculture became rife.

But commenting on the issue, the General Secretary of GAWU, Mr. Edward Kareweh maintained that the poor performance of COCOBOD rather calls for a restructuring.

“On the dispensation that we find ourselves cocoa production has been declining all these years and that is not a good story. We have been hearing of farmers complaining here and there. We need to address that. The need to restructure is much more important than just putting it under the Ministry of Agriculture,” he argued.

Mr. Kareweh was of the view that the Ministry of Agriculture has its own challenges, hence can not automatically solve the problems of the COCOBOD.

“ The Ministry of Agriculture has its own challenges and I am not sure that it has been able to address all those challenges well, so why do we think that when COCOBOD is put under the Ministry of Agriculture farmers would benefit from that and when we talk of farmers which type of farmers,” he asked.

“For cocoa farmers to have the full benefit of their labour and their investment it does not matter whether the COCOBOD is under the Ministry of Agriculture or not, but we should also be careful that the bureaucracy and the type of attitude that bedevils the civil service is likely to affect COCOBOD  if we take it to the Ministry of Agriculture,” he added.

Recounting some good performance in the past, Mr. Kareweh maintained that COCOBOD has delivered in the past going beyond its target, hence the feat can be reproduced.

“I think we need to restructure COCOBOD because it has delivered on its mandate in the past, but it appears that its current officials are not good enough to deliver,” he stressed.

 

Source: mordenghana.com

Ghana Cocobod outlines interventions to boost cocoa production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, has put in place a number of interventions and best agronomic practices to help double output of the crop within ten years.

Ghana’s cocoa industry, touted as the nation’s economic back-bone, will receive a further boost in its average annual cocoa output to over one million tons from the current 800,000 tons, Noah Amenyah, Snr. Public Affairs Manager of the Ghana Cocoa Board, the regulator said in an interview.

Ghana, which lost its position as world’s largest producer of cocoa to Ivory Coast its West African neighbour due to factors including diseased tree stock, has distributed over 120 million free high yielding hybrid seedlings to farmers in the last two years to re-cultivate old farms and replace aged trees.

“The execution of the interventions started with the cocoa farm rehabilitation programme which sought to eradicate diseased cocoa farms as well as old unproductive farms. Such cocoa trees are being cut and replaced with early bearing, high yielding and disease tolerant hybrid seedlings,” Mr Amenyah said.

In the current 2016/17 crop year, COCOBOD is again nursing 60 million hybrid seedlings in over 332 nursery sites across all the cocoa regions for free distribution to cocoa farmers. We expect to add an estimated 50,000 hectares of cocoa farms this year. Thus 500,000 hectares would have been established within the ten-year period,” Mr Amenyah stated.

It is worth noting however, that the COCOBOD’s impressive efforts aimed at increasing production and creating sustainable jobs for farmers and the youth are being undermined by the activities of some business concerns and individuals both local and foreign.

These groups sometimes work through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who undertake similar ventures of raising cocoa seedlings in some cocoa growing areas for distribution to farmers at a cost, this underscores the profit-making motive of such organizations and the individuals involved,” Mr Amenyah added.

“It is a great source of worry,” Amenyah said. “Farmers need not incur the cost of seedlings, we have the Cocoa Health and Extension (CHED) and Seed Production Division which produces free seedlings,” he said.

“This is the reason for which COCOBOD encourages farmers to source their early bearing and high yielding seedlings from respective Cocoa Health and Extension (CHED) and Seed Production Division nurseries sites,” he said

“We don’t only supply free seedlings to farmers but also have a holistic program which provides free fertilizers to improve soil fertility and free mass spraying exercise against pests”.

The Mass Spraying Programme has also seen massive improvement in its structure and form over the past years, he stated.

Of great concern is ageing cocoa farmers, poor road network in cocoa-growing areas and access to education. COCOBOD has therefore introduced the Youth-in-Cocoa Initiative, Cocoa Roads Rehabilitation programme, COCOBOD Child Education Support Programme and also improved upon the cocoa farmers’ wards’ Scholarship Scheme as a way of addressing these issues while at the same time, promoting cocoa sustainability issues.

Ghana Cocoa Board’s modules and programmes have been carefully developed to reduce cost to farmers and improve livelihood of farmers,” Mr Amenyah said.

 

Source: ghanabusinessnews.com

Training Workshop For Cocoa Farmers Held In Bia Conservation Area

By: Henrietta Asiedu

Conservation Alliance (CA) in partnership with IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) and the Wildlife Service Division organized series of training activities for cocoa farmers under the project “Development of a trans-frontier conservation area linking forest reserves and protected areas in Ghana and Cotê d’Ivoire” to strengthen conservation in the landscape.

The training covered best practices in Cocoa Agroforestry, Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Land Management.

Over the period 42 communities, 75 lead farmers and over 2,500 cocoa farmers within the Bia-Juabuso landscape have benefited from the training.

The project also supported the beneficiary communities to raise about 100,000 tree seedling for planting out on cocoa farms and degraded areas.

In an interview, Ms. Abigail Frimpong, the International Project Coordinator, indicated that lead farmers have acquired considerable knowledge on Cocoa Husbandry and Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPM).

She hinted that the project has raised and planted over 100,000 tree seedlings into cocoa farms (to boost the shade levels) and degraded sites within the landscape.

The farmers appealed to the government and donors for support in identifying and developing alternative livelihoods. They also asked the government to provide incentive packages that will motivate the youth to take up cocoa production as a career to reduce unemployment in the country.

 

Source: mordenghana.com