Cocoa farmers get help to increase yield amid price fall

Executives of Beyond the Beans Foundation presenting funds to some Cocoa farmers in the Eastern Region

Federated Commodities, in partnership with Beyond the Beans Foundation, has rolled out sustainable programmes which seek to encourage cocoa farmers in parts of the Eastern Region to produce more – despite the coronavirus pandemic inclining prices on the international market to fall.

In February this year, the cocoa price per tonne on the London Futures averaged £2,003. However, as of September 8, 2020, the price had fallen to £1,716 per tonne. It is against this background that the two organisations have put the cocoa farmers, who are based in Suhum, Anyinam and Tafo, into sizeable groups in order to provide them with enhanced training on good agricultural practices; offer them financial advisory services; facilitate access to credit and input loans for them, and further provide them with social welfare and health services.

This, according to the Managing Director of Federated Commodities, Mrs. Maria Adamu-Zibu, will encourage the farmers to be efficient with production despite falling cocoa prices.

“At the international level, prices are falling. So once the prices fall, it will mean farmers can’t sell at high prices – and the higher the prices, the more farmers are encouraged to produce more. But if the prices are not good, it will obviously discourage the farmers. So whatever we are doing to help the farmers is to encourage them to keep producing more, even if the price keeps going down,” she said.

She further stated that beyond purchasing the beans at a good price, her outfit is providing training for farmers to help them adopt sustainable methods of production which will increase yield.

“We know the challenges farmers go through to even get a bag of cocoa. So, we have a sustainability team that goes to the farmers to train them on the right agricultural practices: which include the right kind of beans to grow; the right chemicals to use; and how and when to use them among others, so as to improve yield,” she said.

There are increasing concerns among international buyers about child labour in Africa and other developing countries where raw materials are sourced from. For this reason, two big international confectionary companies, Ferroro and Mars, through Beyond the Beans Foundation have provided funding of GH¢240,000 each to purchase cocoa from the farmers who are using sustainable means of production at GH¢150 per bag.

Country Representative for Beyond Beans Foundation, Marjolijn Ighekelaar, said her outfit seeks to address the issue by both sensitising and training farmers on the need to use methods of production that will not harm the environment and also protect children’s rights.

“We seek to achieve sustainable cocoa marketing in Ghana, with higher yields and resilient farmers who have their choice of a free market to deliver sustainable cocoa to, and getting the help and training they need to achieve that goal.

“We are in partnership with Federated Commodities to do sustainable trainings for certified cocoa, as well as making sure that at the end of the day there is a premium for the cocoa. We also educate farmers on child labour and do monitoring to ensure that they are complying.

“We also train them on climate-smart cocoa, which provides knowledge on how to preserve the environment. We are also doing projects on land tenure systems to help them secure lands legally,” she said.

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