Root Capital, an impact finance organisation, has given Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union Limited (KKFU) US$325,000 to aid its effort to fight COVID-19 among cocoa farmers.
The first tranche of the money, which has been released according to KKFU, has enabled the purchases and distribution of soaps, handwashing stations, face masks, health education materials, among others.
These relief items are already being distributed to the 100,000-cocoa farmer-member.
The will make the handwashing stations available to the broader community of approximately two million people to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
According to KKFU, the outbreak of COVID-19 affected its business, disrupting the lives of farmers and other stakeholders.
“But with partners like Root Capital, we are confident we can help our community weather this crisis,” KKFU said in a statement to the media.
The biggest smallholder cocoa co-operative in Ghana and the world at large, KKFU, said it considers the health and safety of its farmers as very important in its operations.
“At Kuapa Kokoo the complete well-being of farmers is linked to the production of quality and ethical cocoa that we are noted for. Production targets cannot be met in light of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.”
It said COVID-19 scourge has halted all aspects of life, which has gravely affected the livelihood of over 100,000 Kuapa Kokoo farmers, with at least a household of 5 persons each. These farmers are located in the remote rural villages across 57 districts in six cocoa regions of Ghana.
To find a means of mitigating the effects of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also adapt to the adherence of the protocols to enable farmers to go about their daily activities that Kuapa Kokoo reached out to its partners.
Root Capital responded positively, releasing the first tranche of the US$325,000 grant to support KKFU’s COVID-19 interventions.
The Portfolio Manager, Anglophone West Africa, of Root Capital, Francis Opoku-Mensah, speaking in an interview after an official ‘handing over ceremony,’ said the company in the wake of the pandemic was considering how to also assist its borrowers.
It is along this backdrop that he said the request for funding from KKFU for assistance was approved.
He said checks from the farmers have shown that they continue to receive the ‘relief items,’ and optimistic that the momentum of the intervention would be maintained to realise the overall objective.
The main aim of the intervention being supported by Root Capital is to establish and operate a practical, proactive system for the prevention, identification and reporting of Covid-19 diseases by means acceptable to rural dwellers to minimize their risk of exposure and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their socio-economic status.
These interventions are currently being delivered across the country by a crack team of Public Health and Clinical Specialists led by Dr Fred Bedzrah.
The Ag. Executive Secretary of KKFU, Mr. Nelson Adubofour, said COVID-19 has brought a lot of lessons, particularly investing more in IT to ensure enhance good collaboration and interactions with partners so that distance would not be a barrier to working effectively.
He said notwithstanding the loss of revenue, cancellation of some contracts among others the gesture from Root Capital would go a long way to help sustain their business especially protecting farmers from COVID-19.