The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has commended Mondelēz International for its immense contribution to the increment of cocoa production from 350,000 to 900,000 metric tonnes over the past decade through its Cocoa Life Programme.
Mondelēz International is a snacking company, with Cadbury as its largest brand, and has rolled out the Cocoa Life Programme as a cocoa-farmer and cocoa-community empowerment initiative.
A Deputy Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr Dwomoh Agyemang, gave the commendation at a national forum to mark the 10th anniversary of Cocoa Life in Ghana in Accra yesterday.
The Cocoa Life initiative, aimed at complementing the government’s efforts at transforming the cocoa sector, currently supports more than 37,062 farmers across 447 communities.
The programme helps the farmers with capacity building into best and sustainable farming practices, inputs, funding, knowledge and skills to improve their livelihoods and strengthen their communities and alternative livelihood opportunities.
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Dr Agyemang said not only had the Cocoa Life Programme helped increase quantity, but it had also helped maintain the quality of the cocoa bean, which was seen as the best on the international market.
“I want to emphasise that one of the major pillars of the Ghana cocoa is the quality of the bean, but the use of unapproved chemicals and the inappropriate use of approved chemicals resulting in chemical residue in the beans are threatening Ghana’s performance on the international market,” he said.
He appealed to farmers to take extension services made available to them more seriously to ensure a sustainable cocoa sector.
The Global Director of the Cocoa Life Programme, Ms Cathy Pieters, said the programme sought to ensure gender equity in the cocoa production value chain.
She said it also sought to ensure that the farmers and their communities lived dignified lives.
“Women play a vital role in cocoa farming but often go unrecognised. Women cultivate change in their communities, on the farm and with their children. Here's what we've observed,” she said.
The Cocoa Life Country Lead, Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, said the programme, which continued to give hope to cocoa farmers, particularly women farmers, was a vibrant intervention that was responding to the actual needs of community partners, as well as the interests of the government.
Mrs Amekudzi said through the programme, more than 2,881,865 cocoa seedlings had been distributed freely, 333 nurseries had been set up while 45,950 hectares of cocoa farms had been mapped out.
The country office took advantage of the celebration to launch a guideline document to help farmers with best practices for sustainable cocoa production.
The publication is expected to be a manual for its extension officers to boost their operations.