Solidaridad, an international civil society organization, has launched a project christened “Reclaim Sustainability! Programme” to promote inclusive and sustainable supply chains in the country.
The five-year programme, seeks to contribute to sustainable and inclusive cocoa, oil palm and gold supply chains, in which producers receive a fair value for their produce and work under safe conditions, without the use of child labour, and land rights and ensure the protection of the forest.
It also seeks to improve the capacity of cocoa and oil palm farmers and miners to bargain for equitable access and sustainable use of natural resources.
The programme is implemented by Solidaridad and TrustAfrica with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Isaac Kwadwo Gyamfi, the Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, said farmers, artisanal small-scale miners and workers in Ghana were key players in tackling major challenges such as poverty and climate change, yet their voices were often unheard.
The programme, he reiterated would create a civic space where the interests, voices and rights of farmers, workers and citizens were represented and heard in decision making while promoting a supportive public sector, a responsible private sector, and a vibrant and strong civil society.
This, he believed was needed to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable economy, with prosperity and inclusion for all, as well as a healthier ecosystems.
Mr Gyamfi called for a responsible private sector that would implement comprehensive policies, and innovative and inclusive business models for truly sustainable sourcing, production, trade and investment.
“Civic space in Ghana’s agro-ecological landscape is narrowed and continues to shrink. In some African countries, the space for effective policy formulation and engagement is repressed, obstructed or even closed.
Opening up civic space must, therefore, involve local, national and international engagement, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening,” he added.
Dr Ebrima Sall, the Executive Director of TrustAfrica, said his organization was pleased to partner Solidaridad to build the capacity of farmers and other stakeholders to strategically position them in the civic space in Ghana and West Africa to contribute to decision-making and influence policy at the national level.
“What we at TrustAfrica find most exciting about the programme is its great transformative potential. In the next five years, we should see greater equity in the value chains that the programme is working on, decent working conditions and living wages for all, economic rights, and gender equity,” he said.
Mr Ron Strikker, the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, said the Dutch government was elated to support the programme to complement the government’s strategic plans for Ghana.
Mr Strikker pledged the Dutch government’s continued partnership with Ghana, the private sector and civil society through dialogue to eliminate child labour and mainstream gender in the thematic sectors of agriculture.
Dr Emmanuel Opoku, Deputy Chief Executive, Operations, Ghana Cocoa Board, expressed their commitment to work with cocoa farmers to address their challenges in ensuring fair value of products to promote sustainable growth.
The programme is implemented by a consortium of six Solidaridad’s Regional Expertise Centres and three external consortium partners.
In Africa, Solidaridad West Africa will be working with TrustAfrica and local civil society to reclaim sustainability for farmers, cooperatives and other workers.