The Managing Director of Cocoa Merchants Ghana Limited (CML), Alhaji Abdul Fataa Adamu, has highly praised cocoa farmers for their commitment to the company while announcing a GH₵1.4million premium for the 2021/22 cocoa season for farmers.
Speaking at the 2022 launch of Beyond Beans Foundation and Cocoa Merchants Sustainable Cocoa Farmers’ premium at Pampaso in the Asante Bekwai District of the Ashanti Region, Alhaji Adamu reckoned that CML faced some operational challenges.
But despite the difficulties, he observed the readiness of cocoa farmers to continue working with CML in realising their objectives, which also includes ensuring the well-being and improved livelihoods of farmers.
He said: “The just-ended season happens to be our most-challenged one in the history of the company. We had to manoeuvre our way through very hard and difficult times to reach where we are today”.
“As of the middle of September, for instance, we had unpaid invoices amounting to GH₵76million with COCOBOD. Penal charges on these unpaid invoices amounted to GH₵7million. Some of the unpaid invoices dated as far back as April 2022,” he added.
He explained that this happened when COCOBOD had fully recovered all the seed funds that were allocated to CML, which adversely affected operations in the field in terms of purchases.
The MD of CML therefore commended the cocoa farmers and all the field staff, including district managers, purchasing clerks, field officers, among others for their loyalty, dedication to duty and hard work during the trying times.
The GH₵1.4million premium for the 2020/22 cocoa season for the cocoa farmers translates to GH₵20.50 per bag that will be purchased within the period. This announcement represents a 33.3 percent increase for the GH₵15 per bag premium paid during the 2020/21 cocoa season.
During the period under review, the Asante Bekwai project resulted in the purchase of 4,507 metric tonnes (mt), which is 72,112 bags of cocoa purchases.
The sustainable cocoa programme, he said, was commenced in 2013, with the overall goal of improving the income and livelihoods of cocoa farmers and farm workers by implementing UTZ/Rainforest Alliance certification standards and new initiatives for the value-added market.
“Due to our good works, Nestlé, through Beyond Beans Foundation, adopted Cocoa Merchants’ Asante Bekwai, Nsokote ‘A’ and Nsokote ‘B’ Districts to produce and deliver good quality UTZ/Rainforest certified cocoa beans.”
These farmers were taken through training and became UTZ/Rainforest certified. Nestlé through Beyond Beans Foundation purchased 4,507 metric tonnes of cocoa beans during the just-ended cocoa season from these districts.
The manager of Beyond Beans Foundation, acknowledged some of the interventions, including taking farmers through the training to become double certified for UTZ and RA, with a remarkable yield.
Other support offered within the period includes the distribution of cocoa seedlings to farmers, and shade tree seedlings for the Agroforestry project as well as demo farms.
The cocoa farmers were urged to continue attending training, and implement the technical recommendations on the farms to ensure good yields and improved livelihood.