The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Barry Callebaut AG, one of the leading cocoa processing companies in the world, have signed an agreement commiting to a project that will ensure sustainable cocoa farming in the country.
The project will help create a cocoa sector that generates living incomes for cocoa farmers while ensuring the sector is free from the worst forms of child labour and deforestation.
The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, and his counterpart Mr. Antoine de Saint-Afrique, Chief Executive Officer of Barry Callebaut, signed the agreement at Barry Callebaut headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Boahen Aidoo expressed happiness with the collaboration, commending Barry Callebaut for their continuous support to the cocoa sector.
According to him, government is committed to adding value to the raw cocoa beans produced in Ghana, a development that will enable cocoa processors in the country to improve their production to a tertiary level.
One important factor that is always less-discussed is the issue of pricing, and thus according to Mr. Boahen Aidoo – although the world cocoa market price has not been stable for some time – COCOBOD put in place measures to ensure that remunerative farm-gate prices are paid to farmers in an effort to motivate them, improve their livelihoods and sustain production.
He further stated that the move will help curb the menace of illegal small scale mining (galamsey) and other issues currently confronting the cocoa sector.
“The issue of child labour is of great concern to us, we are strongly against it. No farmer would want to see his or her child on the farms. They also want their children to attain higher heights. To this end, Ghana Cocoa Board together with stakeholders are committed to supporting the putting in place of adequate measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in our cocoa farms, to ensure that the menace is eradicated completely,” he stated.
He is hopeful that the agreement between the two organisations will go a long way to ensure a sustainable cocoa economy.
The Chief Executive Officer of Barry Callebaut, Mr. Antoine de Saint-Afrique lauded the partnership between the two institutions.
He pledged his outfit’s commitment to contributing to the growth of Ghana’s cocoa industry by initiating projects that will support the next generation of cocoa farmers through access to agricultural lands, financing, among others.
Mr. Saint-Afrique stated that the collaboration will also help COCOBOD replant farms affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD), and also include an agroforestry approach to diversifying cocoa farmers’ income.
The two parties are optimistic that the partnership will see the two organisations working together to enhance conditions for the cocoa farmer while ensuring a sustainable cocoa economy.