The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Diana Acconcia, has asked stakeholders to work together to engender sustainable cocoa production that conformed to good agricultural practices (GAPs).
“We have seen that it is possible to have cocoa, which has higher and better yields, and at the same time grants good living conditions for farmers – free of child labour and also attentive to the environment,” she noted.
“I hope that in the future there would be more examples of this. Certainly, the EU is ready to cooperate and support Ghana in this direction,” Ambassador Acconcia told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Banko near Bekwai in the Ashanti Region.
This was after she led a delegation of some EU officials and Members of Parliament (MPs)on a working visit to a cocoa plantation at Banko, one of the beneficiary communities of the ‘Nestlé Cocoa Plan’.
The programme, being spearheaded by Nestlé, a leading food and beverage company, seeks to source cocoa sustainably from certified sources, while tackling child labour, improving the lives of cocoa farmers and the quality of their products.
The vision is to enhance the lives of farmers in the cocoa supply chain, with the focus being on the world’s largest sources – Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
Key stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Plan in Ghana include; Cocoanect Ghana, a cocoa trading and supply chain management company, International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), a programme seeking to end child labour in cocoa growing communities, amongst others.
Cocoa production at Banko since the implementation of the Plan, had witnessed significant boost with a harvest yield of about 450 bags per year, and targeting to reach 500 bags by the end of the 2019/2020 cocoa season.
Currently, there are 28 smallholder farmers captured under the Plan in this community and working on about 58 hectares of land.
Ambassador Acconcia said she was impressed with the manner in which the beneficiary farmers adhered to good practices, saying the integration of agro-forestry into their activities was a step in the right direction.
Mr. Norbert Neuser, a Member of the EU Parliament, encouraged the farmers to continue to work hard for increased yield.
Mr. Prince Gyamfi, the Country Deputy Director in-charge of the ICI, said engaging the child in all forms of labour on the farm was prohibited under international and local laws.
Madam Deborah Kwablah, the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager of Nestlé Ghana, affirmed the company’s resolve to ensure better cocoa production – which guaranteed the Ghanaian farmer of sustainable and improved livelihood.
The delegation, as part of its visit, was taken through some of the cocoa farming activities and supply chain as related to good agricultural