Mondelez International, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company, has supported farmers registered under its flagship Cocoa Life programme with US$3,360,000 to implement their development plans.
The amount, which approximatesGH¢18million, has been disbursed among 29,116 registered farmers in 334 cocoa communities across the country for the 2018/19 crop year.
The Cocoa Life programme, which was established in 2012, is aimed at assisting cocoa farmers and cocoa-growing communities in strengthening their capacity to adhere to modern farming practices that will improve productivity and protect the ecosystem.
The Country Head-Cocoa Life Programme, Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, addressing executives of Cocoa Life cooperatives societies indicated that Mondelez is committed to increasing the percentage of cocoa volume for all its chocolate brands that it secures from the cocoa life sustainable programme, from the current 40 percent to 100 percent by the year 2025.
“We commit to harnessing technology and community ownership by facilitating the adoption of good agricultural and environmental practices; such as protection of rights, especially those of women and children; creation of opportunities for the youth; and development of communities into places farmers and their children would love to live in.
“Gradually our partner cocoa farmers are shifting from the machete and hoe to motorised pruners and motorised trimmers. They are shifting from manual sprayers to motorised sprayers. And they are also shifting from carrying cocoa on their heads to using motorised tricycles,” she said.
Mondelez, hoping to further enhance performance and sustainability of cocoa production, has also presented 100 motorised trimmers to 50 groups to be used instead of weedicides which have adverse effects on soil quality.
The trimmers are to be managed by the heads of cooperative unions in the various communities, and made available to all the farmers to pool when needed for work on their farms.
She expressed that Cocoa Life aims to create sustainable jobs for the youth in agriculture through technological know-how, and to also protect the rights of women and prevent child labour in cocoa production.
“We strategically designed a holistic approach, considering the challenges facing cocoa communities are dynamic, complex and interrelated. We have been able to turn challenges into opportunities that we have harnessed into successful responsive interventions.
“The enhancement of performance through the use of modern methods of farming and technology, and the capacity of organised farmers to drive their own development, are two lessons we have learnt from the programme,” she noted.
The Chairman of Fanteakwa district Cooperate Union, Humphrey Ayesi – who received the motorised trimmers on behalf of the Cocoa Life Farmers, expressed his profound gratitude to Mondelez on behalf of the farmers for the immense support it has offered to cocoa farmers since inception
“The Cocoa Life Programme has helped us to embark on mechanised farming and practice good agronomic principles which have increased our productivity.
“We promise to ensure that the trimmers are put to good use and maintained well, so that they last longer,” he said.
Mondelez, through the cooperative unions, has provided annual cash premiums for community development projects such as schools, clinics, factories, warehouses, water-wells, accommodation for teachers and nurses, as well as scholarships among others.