Cargill is celebrating with more than 10,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers as the company has made its first ever sustainable premium payment by electronic transfer through its Licensed Buying Company (LBC).
The payment of GHc2 million was announced at a ceremony Thursday, attended by Nana Kwadwo Twum II – Acting President, Sefwi Bekwai Traditional Area & Chief of Sefwi Humjibre, Dr Opoku – Executive Director, CHED and Clara Arthur – General Manager, Projects & Business Development, GhIPSS, where a symbolic cheque representing the payment was presented to participating farmers.
Cargill’s LBC, which began operating in November 2016, allows the company to directly source cocoa from certified farmers in Ghana – putting the farmer at the heart of its business.
The buying process is fully e-money enabled, allowing Cargill to pay farmers directly by electronic transfer for the first time.
The LBC is part of Cargill’s Cocoa Promise, the company’s commitment to improving the livelihoods of farmers and communities that will secure a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come.
Cargill already sources directly from farmers and farmer organisations in other origin countries.
Moving to this model in Ghana means that the company is now better positioned to implement sustainability activities under the Cargill Cocoa Promise on a wider scale, while also better serving its customers.
Mr Lionel Soulard, the Managing Director, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate West Africa, said: “Our first electronic premium payment in Ghana since Cargill’s LBC was established is good news for farmers. Our new approach, combining new high-tech purchasing with the LBC model of direct sourcing and collaboration with farmers, is working well and we hope to make many more such payments in the future.”
Cargill’s innovative purchasing model uses the latest technology to implement the principles of sustainability and full traceability in Ghana.
Farmers deliver their cocoa to community warehouses where their beans are digitally weighed and assigned a fully traceable bar code. Funds are then transferred straight to the farmer’s phone or e-wallet using E-money through partnerships with E-Zwich, MTN mobile Money and Tigo Cash.
Details of the cocoa beans are recorded in a standardised management system before they are transferred to central warehouses.
Through this bar code system, Cargill can now, for the first time in Ghana, trace each individual bag of beans sourced through the Cargill LBC to the individual farmer, creating a fully traceable supply chain.
Mr Soulard explained, “Having long standing relations with cocoa farmers and their communities is critical for the full implementation of our sustainability approach and we are now expanding our sustainability activities to enable farming communities to benefit from training, community and farm development support.”
Working together with CARE International, Cargill is currently undertaking development projects in 108 communities in Ghana, focusing on women’s empowerment, child protection and food and nutrition security.
The strategy is to empower these communities through the formation of community development committees (CDCs), providing each with $500 seed capital to spearhead the development agenda of the communities.
Cargill would thus be investing $300,000 each year for the next three years to create resilient cocoa communities in the area where the LBC operates.
“We are excited about continuing our sustainability journey in Ghana, in partnership with COCOBOD, the Ghanaian cocoa board,” said Mr Soulard. “As our new purchasing model is fully sustainable and fully certified, it will strengthen farmer organisations and enable farmers to benefit from future premium payments for certified, sustainable cocoa beans.
“Developing our sourcing capabilities in the world’s second largest cocoa producing country is an essential step to meet growing customer demand for sustainable, certified cocoa.”
In the coming year, Cargill is also committed to working with the Ministry of Education to renovate, reconstruct and build schools in the four districts where it currently operates, to improve access to education.