Mars Incorporated, the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, says it is ready to invest in Ghana’s cocoa sector by empowering cocoa-growing communities to drive resilience.
“This means creating a cocoa sector where everyone, especially cocoa farmers, can thrive; human rights are respected and the environment is protected,” Madam Berlinda Addison-Ansah, the Sustainability Programme Officer, Mars Incorporated, has said.
“Cocoa is an integral ingredient in our beloved chocolate products, and we know that a sustainable cocoa sector is essential to ensure we can continue providing chocolate for future generations of chocolate lovers,” she explained.
“Ghana is a key sourcing country and we are committed to investing in communities to drive resilience,” Mad Addison-Ansah said when she addressed an after-action review meeting of the ‘Stop the COVID-19 Spread Initiative’ project in Sunyani.
Mars Incorporated invested GHC1.3 million into the 12-months project implemented by Care International, an NGO, which sought to empower vulnerable communities to build resilience, empower and protect people against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Prior to the pandemic, we were working with our suppliers and expert partners to support communities and farmers to improve their livelihoods. At Mars, we care about the health and life of our associates, suppliers and farmers.”
“It is for this reason that from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we supported CARE around the world and specifically Ghana to support the communities impacted by the pandemic,” Mad Addison-Ansah stated.
She stressed her outfit would continue with industry players, the government, COCOBOD and other civil society partners to seek shared solutions and mutually beneficial results for cocoa farming families in the country.
Giving an overview of the ‘Stop COVID-19 Spread Initiative,’ Mr Marshall JB Anala, the Project Manager, Care International, explained the project was implemented in 60 communities spread across four regions- two districts in Bono, three districts in Western North, two districts in Ashanti and two districts in Ahafo Regions.
He indicated the COVID-19 pandemic contributed partly to rising cases of Gender-Based Violence, saying economic hardships and power struggles resulted in insecure homes in many of the project implementing communities.
Mr Anala highlighted some achievements of the project, saying it provided economic empowerment to about 1,630 identified vulnerable households and families, including pregnant women and nursing mothers.
The project also built and strengthened collaborations with the Centre for National Culture (CNC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), its implementing partners, he added.