Federated Commodity (FEDCO), a cocoa buying company and its partners have set aside an amount of GHC 2,442,000.00 to support cocoa famers in six cocoa growing areas in the Western Region.
The areas to be supported include Wassa Akropong, Manso Amenfi, Asankragwa, Samreboi A&B and Akontonbra.
A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, on Thursday, said a total of GHC 1,042,000.00 was used to purchase and supply farm inputs and logistics to the farmers and the other half also went into the provision of potable water for the communities.
The statement quoted Alhaji Abdul Razak Adamu, Managing Director, FEDCO, as saying the presentation formed part of the Walter Matter SA and FEDCO Sustainability Project, aimed at helping to develop cocoa producing communities which trade with the company.
The Managing Director also announced that a pilot Farmers Business School (FBS) would be started by FEDCO and its partners to build farmer?s capacity in entrepreneurial and management skills.
?The school will enable farmers to learn and improve their knowledge, change their attitudes and enhance their skills towards improved farm commercialization?, he said.
Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister called on Cocoa Buying Companies to extend their support to the communities they buy their produce from.
According to statement, the Minister said a lot of cocoa producing communities faced numerous challenges, including bad road network, lack of portable water, health facilities and other social amenities.
He said such challenges could be leveraged only if the cocoa buying companies extended their support to those communities.
He called on the cocoa farmers to desist from giving up their cocoa farms for galamsey operations and rather use the land profitably by growing more cocoa and urged them to make good use of the farm items presented to them.
To avert some of the challenges facing cocoa producing communities, a team of consultants from FEDCO and its partners namely: Walter Matter SA and Chocolate Frey in Switzerland visited the six districts last year to conduct a need assessment project.
The reason for the assessment was to identify the real needs of the cocoa farmers and find means to addressing some of them.
The needs identified in the report were in the areas of healthcare, potable water, road networks, education, infrastructure and entertainment facilities.
The FEDCO and its partners praised the cocoa farmers for the quality of their cocoa beans and encouraged them to keep to the quality standard always.
The Ghana Cocoa Board also used the occasion to reiterate its support to FEDCO in its activities to promote development.