Thirty-nine community extension agents who are assisting cocoa farmers in 331 communities in some parts of the country have received laptops to help them collect and analyse data in cocoa-growing centres.
The beneficiary communities are in the Suhum, West Akyem and New Juaben districts in the Eastern Region; Bia West, Juabeso and Wassa East in the Western Region; Awutu Senya in the Central Region; Ahafo Ano North, Sekyere East and Amansie West in the Ashanti Region; and Asunafo North in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Mondelez International Cocoa Life (MICL), the social investment programme of Mondelez International (formerly Cadbury), in order to boost cocoa production, engaged the extension officers to assist more than 25,479 cocoa farmers with proper agronomic practices required to improve productivity of their cocoa farms.
MICL, which is working to improve cocoa productivity in 447 communities, seeks to ensure accurate documentation and referencing on the progress and performance of the programme, review and retooling, as well as accountability of funds.
The Country Lead of MICL, Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, said Mondelez had been working with the government, non-governmental organisations and various agencies under the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to ensure quality produce.
She said the adoption of good agricultural and environmental practices was necessary to increase productivity, control diseases and guarantee higher incomes for farmers.
“We are committed to thriving cocoa communities as an essential foundation for sustainable cocoa and we do that by supporting farmers to improve their yields, livelihoods and incomes to lift them out of poverty,” she said.
Provision of equipment
Mrs Amekudzi said the organisation had already provided the community extension officers with motorcycles, protective clothes and other equipment to enable them to provide adequate and appropriate support to cocoa farmers efficiently.
She gave an assurance that the company would continue to work with the communities in order to help eliminate child labour by tackling its root causes, including nurturing the next generation of cocoa farmers and protecting the landscape in which cocoa was grown, to maintain ecosystems and create viable environments and farmlands for the future.
An extension officer, Mr Lopez Asante, said the laptop came at a time that he and his colleagues needed them, adding that the computers would enhance their work.
He, therefore, promised the proper use and maintenence of the laptops and accessories to achieve their intended purposes.