Solidaridad West Africa, an organisation working to promote the inclusion of women and the youth in cocoa production, is taking steps to mitigate the impact of climate change on cocoa production in Ghana.
With women inclusion at the core of its programmes, Solidaridad is engaging some financial institutions to fund the installation of irrigation facilities in the farms of smallholder farmers, especially women.
Mr. Hammond Mensah, Programme Manager of the second phase of the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP II) who disclosed this, said the climate was wreaking havoc on cocoa trees and that women were disproportionately impacted.
Speaking to the media after a visit to some project sites of CORIP II by a delegation from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mensah said the focus was to support women on how educate on impact of climate change as cocoa farmers.
Funded by the Dutch Government through its Embassy in Accra, CORIP II which was implemented by Solidaridad is a four-year project that seeking to provide economic, social and environmentally sustainable support for farmers to address institutional challenges in the cocoa supply chain.
The delegation was, therefore, in the country to learn at firsthand the realities of cocoa production and how CORIP II had impacted the lives of beneficiaries and the cocoa sector.
They visited a Rural Service Centre (RSC) established with the support of Solidaridad at Dunkwa-On-Offin where they interacted with Women in Cocoa Cooperative (Cocoa Mmaa), a group that mobilises over 600 women cocoa farmers.
The delegation also inspected a rain-fed and irrigated cocoa farms at Bebianiha and Asikuma to see how they survived under the harsh climatic conditions.
Mr. Mensah said it was imperative to introduce artificial irrigation into the cocoa sector as one of the surest ways of reducing the risk of climate change.
“We have spoken to some financial institutions who have expressed interest in designing leasing products for irrigation facilities for anyone who is interested within the cocoa sector,” he observed.
“Currently, the upfront cost is high, and we are trying to work around to see how we can get it considerably at a lower cost maybe about 30 per cent of the current cost and still achieve the same impact,” he added.
He said Solidaridad was speaking to various vendors to see how they could link them with financial institutions and the farmers within a repayment regime that works for them.
Mr. Ebenezer Forson Appiah, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Upper Denkyira East said Solidaridad had been helpful in terms of supporting the assembly to improve the lives of women in cocoa farming.
He praised the organisation for supporting the assembly in establishing an RSC which, he said, would enhance the output of the women in cocoa production through the technical support that they would receive at the Centre.