Cocoa marketing company Fludor Ghana Limited, a member of the Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group, in collaboration with non-profit organisation VisionSpring has conducted eye screening and distributed free glasses to cocoa farmers in Ghana.
This is part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility effort to support the eradication of vision impairment, one of the world’s most significant health problems affecting 7.5 million Ghanaians – many of whom are in low-income rural communities. The CSR initiative aimed to increase the glasses coverage rate and income earning potential of cocoa farmers and community members in Fludor’s sustainability sourcing network.
Commenting at the programme’s flag-off, Managing Director of Fludor Ghana Limited, Dennis Sampong, explained that the initiative has obvious social impacts yet broader sustainability benefits. “A healthy farmer is a happy farmer, and a happy farmer is a productive one. The farmers’ well-being has a direct impact on the quality and quantity of their output, so it is imperative that we support them as best as we can,” he said.
Fludor Ghana Limited and VisionSpring conducted free vision-screening for 3,790 individuals in nine cocoa growing districts of Ghana’s Western and Eastern Regions. Specially-designed vision camps were situated across 23 locations to undertake the programme.
Also speaking on the initiative, Business Development Lead-Ghana from Vision Spring, Harry Ahimah said:
“It is always a delight when well-meaning companies like Fludor Ghana Limited come to the aid of Ghana’s cocoa farmers. Cocoa farmers are considered a major backbone of the Ghanaian economy, but it is sad to realise that most of them are unable to access eye-care – either due to cost or lack of eye-care facilities. We are deeply grateful to TGI Group for this collaboration, and we are looking forward to a lasting partnership to further unlock the earning potential of Ghanaian cocoa farmers”.
Of the 3,790 beneficiaries screened for various eye diseases and visual impairments, 1,547 received spectacles; 1,316 individuals were given medications; and 927 with various conditions including cataracts, pterygium and glaucoma were referred to the nearest district hospitals for further examination.
Beneficiary farmers were not only excited about the screening exercise but also grateful for the free medication. Their appreciation is captured in the words of 58-year-old Thomas Mensah and 60-year-old Martha Agyei.
“Prior to the screening exercise, I could hardly see well and read due to issues with my eyes,” said Mensah, “Performing certain cocoa farm operations such as pod-breaking, scooping up beans, hand-pollination etc. was quite difficult for me as I ended up most times not doing it the right way. Hearing that Fludor was organising a free eye-test was a great joy to me. After going through the exercise, I received spectacles from the doctor and now I can see clearly and read… thanks to Fludor.”
“I was unable to see objects that were far from me. I was given eye-drops during the eye-screening exercise. I was also referred to the hospital for further treatment and I can now see clearly. The company has done well,” Martha Agyei said.
Fludor Ghana Limited (FGL), a member-company of TGI Group, was incorporated in August 2014 to internally market cocoa. It works with various local and international partners to improve farmers’ livelihoods, enhance the quality of cocoa produced, promote farmer’s entrepreneurial abilities, and secure and increase the supply of sustainable cocoa. Aside from Cocoa, Fludor Ghana Limited also plays an active role in the Cashew and Soy value chains.