The Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited, a subsidiary of Barry Callebaut Group, manufacturers of quality chocolate and cocoa products has initiated a project to support and reward cocoa farmers as part of the implementation of its sustainability programmes.
Dubbed ‘Cocoa Horizons’, the programme which is being implemented in all cocoa origin countries including Ghana, seeks to promote the company’s vision of sourcing and processing 100 per cent sustainable cocoa globally.
It also aims at providing smallholder cocoa farmers with the necessary skills and knowledge to promote wider uptake and adoption towards sustainable intensification for better cocoa livelihoods.
Mr. Robert Asugre, Head of the Sustainability Programmes in Ghana, at a farmers durbar held at Goaso in the Asunafo North Municipality, said the future of the cocoa industry depended on the ability to make cocoa farming more attractive and viable to the present and future farmers.
To this end, the programme is also developing the capacity of farmers as agro entrepreneurs who are now taking up farming as a serious business.
He announced that community development initiatives such as provision of street lights, community water systems, and household solar lamps, teaching material support, supply of mosquito nets and introduction of farmer pension scheme would commence this year in its operational areas.
About 47,000 farmers in 810 communities in 36 districts in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Central Regions are expected to benefit from the community development projects.
‘As a tradition of the Horizon Programme, all trained and certified farmers are paid a premium on every kilogram of cocoa they produce for going the extra mile in ensuring cocoa is sustainable ‘, he stated.
Mr. Yaw Boahen, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) praised the company for its immense interventions in the cocoa industry.
He said the community development initiatives being implemented would complement government’s efforts to provide basic amenities for rural communities.
Mr. George Akplu, the Municipal Manager of Quality Control, entreated the farmers to adopt best farming practices to ensure that they produced quality cocoa beans that meet standards of the international market.