Cocoa Merchants Ghana Limited (CML) and its partner, Nestle, through the Beyond Beans Foundation has announced premium payment of GH¢804,000 – for 3,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans purchased during the just-ended main crop season – to farmers at Bekwai and Anhwiaso cocoa districts in the Ashanti Region.
The year’s purchase, which is equivalent to 48,000 bags of cocoa beans according to Managing Director of CML, Alhaji Abdul Fataa Adamu, comes at the back of some notable interventions including a sustainable cocoa programme commenced by the company in 2013.
The programme was geared toward improving the income and livelihoods of cocoa farmers and farm workers by implementing UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification standards, and new initiatives for the value-added market.
“Due to our good work, Nestle – through Beyond Beans Foundation – adopted Cocoa Merchants’ Asante Bekwai, Nsokote ‘A’ and Nsokote ‘B’ districts to produce and deliver good quality UTZ-certified cocoa beans.”
The programme currently has 4,259 farmers who have been taken through trainings and became UTZ-certified for which Nestle, through Beyond Beans Foundation, purchased the 3,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans.
Alhaji Fataa Adamu observed that the partnership with Nestle and Beyond Beans Foundation has led to the construction of an 8-seat sanitation facility and a borehole at Konsimwa community in the Nsokote cocoa district. Additionally, the project has also led to the production of cocoa juice with farmers in Banko community in Asante Bekwai.
He therefore encouraged the farmers to continue delivering their cocoa beans to Cocoa Merchants’ Purchasing Clerks. “I once again urge our gallant farmers to continue attending trainings and implement what you are taught in your farms, and also discuss the good practices with other farmers who are not even members of your group.”
While appreciating COCOBOD and its subsidiaries and other stakeholders for the numerous support they offer, he also called on them to continue their support.
Sustainability Manager of Beyond Beans Foundation, Marjolijn Hekelaar – also addressing the gathering of cocoa farmers, recognised the work they have been doing with CML on the implementation of sustainability programmes in Ghana since 2016. “We are in a partnership together, working as one team toward the same goal: more sustainable cocoa and better livelihoods for farmers.”
She also recognised the work of cocoa farmers, noting that “without you, there would be no cocoa; meaning no Nestle Cocoa Plan, no Cocoa Merchants and no Cocoanect. You are the future of cocoa, and we are proud to work with you. Over the last year, you have joined us in working on all elements of the Nestle Cocoa Plan: Better Farming, Better Lives & Better Cocoa,” she added.
As part of the ‘Better Farming’ intervention, she disclosed among others that the “Cocoa Action programme was completed for the second year in a row, wherein we focus on the application of good agricultural practices. These are also improved through the trainings given by Lead Farmers and Field Officers”.
One central theme that was repeated to the cocoa farmers was the effort to position them to leverage the digital transformation agenda that is being championed across almost every sector of the economy. As a result of this, payment of the premium to farmers was said to be done through the various mobile money platforms.
The World Cocoa Foundation was acknowledged to be one of the partner institutions which provided enormous technical assistance to make the premium payments digital.