Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Company has rewarded farmers under its programme with Ghc5.3 million as bonus for undertaking sustainable means of cocoa cultivation and other acceptable practices during harvesting and packaging.
This is aside the fixed prices paid for each bag of cocoa it bought from the farmers. As a tradition, all trained and certified farmers are paid a premium on every kilogramme of cocoa they produce for going through extra sustainable
Shedding light on the benefits of the sustainability practices to the farmers, the Sustainability Country Head of Nyonkopa Cocoa, Mr Robert Asugre, said the company had registered 47,000 farmers in the Ashanti, Easter, Central, Brong Ahafo regions who were being educated about the sustainability project.
He said because the sustainability yields more income, the company will be spending Ghc 8 million to provide communities where Nyonkopa Cocoa farmers live with water systems, streets lights, solar household lamps, teaching and learning materials for schools, mosquito nets among others.
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He said in addition to these, the company had commenced Cocoa farmers’ pension scheme and that a lot of the farmers have been registered to benefit from pension when they attain 60 years and urged the farmers to continue to adhere strictly to the good agriculture practices.
Mr Asugre said the company currently had 500 staff, 6,000 auxiliary staff and 1,000 community coordinators who were working assiduously to ensure that the farmers had the best of care.
The Goaso Municipal Quality Control Manager of the Quality Control Company of the Ghana Cocobod,, Mr George Akplu urged cocoa farmers to adhere strictly to standard quality practices to ensure that the country’s cocoa maintained its quality premium on the international market.
He said in recent times some activities of some farmers, such as mixing small and big seeds, not following right procedures in harvesting and fermenting among others that tend to affect the quality have been detected.
Explaining further, Mr Akplu, noted that some of the farmers have abandoned the age-old harvesting, drying and packaging the seeds in sacks and had been mixing both red and black seeds, small and big beans together into one sack.
This, he said, meant that at the buying point the officers had to reopen the sacks and sort them out into black, red small and big before exportation or to the factories in Ghana and stated that small and big beans were required for different purposes.
He said when the small and big beans were mixed; the smaller ones tend to burn during the process of roasting them.
The Municipal Chief Executive of Asunafo North, Mr Yaw Boahen, commended the company for their sustainable practices and benefits for farmer which he said were in tandem with the policies of the government to increase cocoa yields and hike the benefits to farmers.
He assured Nyonkopa that his office would collaborate with the company to assist in cocoa production increases.