Farmer organisation Cocoa Abrabopa Association (CAA) is partnering with Alfred Ritter GmbH, a chocolate manufacturer – of the Ritter Sports brand of chocolate products – to support its farmer groups in the Western South cocoa region with additional livelihood interventions for sustainable cocoa production.
The support initiative, which includes access to transport, farming equipment and water, is also aimed at empoweringcocoa farmers to access additional income streams aside from cocoa farming.
This forms part of a drive to help address poverty among cocoa-growing communities, farmers and households in the country.
As part of strategies to address poverty among cocoa farmers in the country, particularly in areas where it operates, CAA in collaboration with its foreign partners donated 20 tricycles, 30 mist–blowers and inaugurated two boreholes, washrooms, agrochemical input shops and snail starter–packs to cocoa–growing communities in the Western South cocoa region.
The items formed part of the Living Income Initiative Project of CAA, and were in response to demands by farmers for assistance in accessing additional income streams and other coping strategies to help in reducing cost of production and improve their health, particularly during the lean season.
The beneficiary farmers groups were drawn from Akotom, Kofi Gyan, Ayensukrom, Wassa Esikumah, Wassa Nkran, Esuoso, Bonsanwire, Benso, Yayaho, Subriso, Ningo-Benso, Simpa Ahenso, Simpa, Bonaboka, Bonsa, Teacher Krom, Kwakukrom, Attakrom, Gwira Eshiem, Adum Banso, Wassa Manso, Wassa Manso Anyinase, Amantin and Bomba – all in the Western South cocoa region of Ghana.
A total of about 420 members and their households benefitted from the assistance aimed at helping beneficiaries boost their domestic income.
Sustainability Manager, Wilfred Apiung, highlighted that prior to implementing interventions, comprehensive needs assessments were carried out at both the community and group levels.
“Farmer groups identified numerous challenges that served as underlying reasons for their inability to meet the living income benchmark.
“An in-depth analysis of these root–causes led to the identification of various solutions, and consensus was reached on some of them.
“The support currently provided to farmers aligns with the proposed solutions identified during the needs assessment.
“Root–cause analysis revealed that different communities and groups face distinct problems and root–causes. The solutions to enhance living income vary for each household and the respective communities they inhabit.
“This is why at CAA and Ritter Sport we are fully committed to the Living Income and Additional Livelihood Intervention Project.
“It serves as a pivotal component of cocoa sustainability in Ghana, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by different households and communities,” he added.
For his part, Council Chairman–CAA, Ismaila Pomasi, said many factors account for poverty, particularly among cocoa farmers in the country.
Key among them, according to him, are included location, infrastructure, educational levels, availability of jobs, farm sizes and capital for investment.
“CAA is contributing to sustainable cocoa production in Ghana,and also supporting our farmers and their households in building economically viable and resilient cocoa production, which will lead to sustainable, improved livelihoods,” he said.
He added that maintenance of the equipment is the farmer groups’ sole responsibility, and the fate of future projects and support depends on how seriously farmer groups take maintenance.
“You people benefitting from this support are very lucky; as I am chairman, my community and group is not benefitting from any of these projects.
“I will also use this opportunity to once again thank our customer, Ritter Sport, for this support” he added.
Acting Executive Secretary for CAA, Patrick John Van Brakel,said the support is also to ensure all its farmers conform with the newly introduced Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System and the new Rainforest Alliance Standard. This, he said, is to position the association ahead of any international standards.
The chief of Adum Banso in the Mpohor district, Nana Kwandoh Brempoh III, cautioned cocoa farmers in his jurisdiction against giving out their cocoa farms for illegal mining.
Nana Brempong warned cocoa farmers who give their farmlands to illegal gold miners that he will personally cause their arrest.
“Let me make a promise here and now, that I will arrest and deal with anyone who attempts to cut down cocoa trees for galamsey in this traditional area,” he said.
According to him, the time has come for traditional leaders to join the fight against illegal mining to safeguard the country’sfuture.
Western South Regional Pollination Coordinator, Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), Jonathan Nayinah, urged farmers in cocoa–growing communities to join beneficiary associations like Cocoa Abrabopa Association to enhance their welfare.
Leaders of farmer groups said the living income initiative project being championed by CAA will help reduce poverty in their communities and households.
They are grateful to CAA for this initiative which they believe will help them earn additional income to supplement cocoa farming.