The Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union Limited (KKFU) has unveiled a number of interventions to sustain and boost cocoa production while also transforming the lives of cocoa farmers.
Speaking at the 25th Annual delegate Conference, in Kumasi, the President of KKFU, Madam Fatima Ali, said to make true the commitment to address the concerns of farmers, the much talked about ‘Kuapa Kokoo Tele Agric project’ has since commenced.
She said the pilot phase is currently on-going at Ofoase in the Ejisu-Juabeng district where over 500 farmers have received smartphones, with support from Roots Capital and Millennium Promise Alliance.
The smartphones are installed with applications that would help farmers in a lot of ways such as to help early detection of diseases, ensure plant health, increased yield and, reduce pre and post-harvest losses in farms.
She observed that this would enable the cocoa farmers to reduce the operational cost of farm maintenance and have more produce from the farm to sell in order to save and support their families.
The timelines for full-scale registrations, she noted, are being outlined to ensure full scale-up implementation.
Madam Fatima Ali also said their efforts to ensure gender mainstreaming in the cocoa sector, which has since ages been male-dominated, is gradually paying-off through the ‘Kuapa Kokoo Gender Programme.’
The initiative, which is geared towards empowering women and their participation in the business and the governance of the organization has led to an increased female membership from 33 percent to over 35 percent.
This increase, she said, was partly due to the skills training, gender justice, micro-credit schemes and alternative livelihood projects which have been extended to women groups in the various societies.
She reckoned that women’s social and economic empowerment is fundamental to the global goal of realizing gender equality and to a larger extent the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Therefore, as Kuapa Kokoo partners with like-minded organizations across the globe to provide support and tools for training and capacity building, we are well positioning ourselves to implement measures to reduce gender gaps and promote equality in the economic and political spheres.”
She said both the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recognize that when more women work, economies grow. “This is because women make a significant contribution to economies as food producers, business owners, and caretakers of children and of resources.”
She said consequently when women are given equal access and equal rights, the whole community benefits, indicating a marked growth in education, health, income, and community and political engagement and participation.
The President of KKFU, who was addressing farmers and other stakeholders, maintained that the women groups in the various zones of KKFU will be resourced to act as drivers of change. She was emphatic that this will impact their communities and the nation as a whole.
To ensure that the cocoa farmers have an improved income to achieve a decent standard of living, it emerged that some custom-designed community-based projects are being implemented.
The projects which are being done in partnership with others, according to Kuapa Kokoo meets the partner’s unique specification and would be mutually beneficial to the farmer and the partner in the long run.
“This is to ensure that as the debate on living income goes on across the global platforms to seek a decent living for smallholder farmers, Kuapa Kokoo would not be left behind but rather would be a step ahead.”
This year’s annual delegate conference was held under the theme “Building Strategic Partnerships to reduce Hunger and end extreme Poverty (SDG 1&2&17).”
The Deputy Chief Executive in charge of operations, of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Dr. Emmanuel Opoku, speaking in an interview at the backdrop of the ceremony clarified that the Cocobod is not spending $10 million to undertake any farmer census as it is being alleged.
He said the pursuit of Cocobod is to have a platform to be able to render electronic services to farmers, deploy subsidies among many others, which the farmer census is just an aspect of the exercise.
He explained that this will enable Cocobod to electronically determine the farm sizes of farmers in order to determine their production for the year and inform the subsidy that farmers will require for the next cropping season among others.
Dr. Opoku said the actual service is estimated at $3.6 million while the rest is the cost of the infrastructure that will be provided for the platform to work.