Solidaridad, Department of Cooperatives to empower cocoa farmers


Solidaridad has partnered the Department of Cooperatives in Ghana to facilitate the establishment of a robust regional and national cooperative association to increase cocoa farmers’ participation in decision-making.

The partnership was formalised by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during a brief ceremony at Solidaridad’s office in Accra.

This is against the backdrop that cocoa farmers’ cooperatives in the country are faced with significant challenges due to the absence of a legally-recognised, national unified front. The lack of representation often leads to formulating policies that don’t align with farmers’ needs, hindering sustainable cocoa production efforts.

But under this new partnership, Solidaridad will enhance the capacity of cooperatives and associations on cocoa sector policies, as well as support the implementation of advocacy actions and development of advocacy campaigns.

The Country Representative for Solidaridad in Ghana, Bossman Owusu said: “We are dedicated to supporting the capacity agenda, enabling farmers to participate in decision-making processes actively”.

The Department of Cooperatives is expected to ensure the cocoa cooperative associations’ registration and regulation, provide training in policies and governance, and maintain a database for registered cooperative unions.

The Acting Registrar-Department of Cooperatives, Kwabena Apraku Yeboah, expressed gratitude for Solidaridad’s support and affirmed the department’s dedication to strengthening cocoa cooperatives in Ghana through effective collaboration.

The partnership is under Solidaridad’s RECLAIM Sustainability! Programme, and forms part of efforts to strengthen civil society organisations, workers and cooperatives to dialogue with public and private decision-makers; and monitor implementations of mechanisms that ensure gender and social inclusion in the value chain.

Over the past two years, the programme has been actively working to enhance the capacity of cocoa cooperative unions on sector regulations.

So far, 83 cocoa cooperative unions have been mobilised and strengthened, for the formation of a national cooperative association. The cooperatives have also been enabled to actively engage in advocating for their interests.

Humphrey Ayisi, former president-Fanteakwa Cooperative Union said: “Our engagements with Solidaridad have brought about a significant improvement in our operations as a cooperative.

“Last year with support from Solidaridad, the Fanteakwa Cooperative union – together with other cocoa farmers’ cooperative unions in the Eastern Region of Ghana, successfully submitted a petition to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and relevant government institutions to put an end to surface-mining in the region.”

Also present at the ceremony were representatives from Suhum KCC Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Sefwi Bekwai Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Baakoye Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Fanteakwa Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union and the World Cocoa Farmers Organisation (WCFO).

The RECLAIM Sustainability! (RS!) is implemented by six Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centres (RECs) and three external consortium partners, with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In West Africa, the five-year programme is implemented in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

The programme seeks to promote an inclusive, sustainable trade and value chain in which the interests, voices and rights of farmers, workers and citizens are represented and heard in decision-making.

This will be achieved by: supporting cocoa, oil palm farmers and mining companies/organisations to adopt and implement frameworks, models and norms that ensure sustainable sourcing, trade and investment.

It also includes strengthening civil society organisations, workers and cooperatives to dialogue with public and private decision-makers and monitor implementations of mechanisms that ensure gender and social inclusion in the value chain; and supporting public institutions to collaborate with the private sector to develop and implement frameworks and systems that ensure sustainable production, trade and consumption.

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