Cocoa farmers build capacity to improve livelihood

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Eleven thousand cocoa farmers from six districts have been introduced to a training programme to improve  on their livelihood and the training attracts certification.

Under the programme, which is a partnership arrangement between the Produce  Buying Company (CPC) Limited and Touton SA, an external cocoa trading company, based in Bordeaux, France, the selected farmers will be taken through training on good agricultural and environmental and social practices.

They will be taught techniques to increase their cocoa production and income, handle agro-chemicals well, make maximum use of farmlands and prevent deforestation.

The farmers  will thereafter apply what they have been taught on their farms.

The districts are Sunyani and Kasapin in the Brong Ahafo Region, Nkawie, Juaso, New Edubiase ‘A’ and New Edubiase ‘B’ in the Ashanti Region.

These were announced by Mr Kojo Atta-Krah, the Managing Director of  PBC, at a ceremony at New Edubiase, where 6,000 farmers who started the programme last year were awarded certificates.

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He said 6,153 tonnes of certified cocoa beans were produced under the programme, out of which 4,652 tonnes had been sold to Touton SA, leaving a difference of 1,401 tonnes.

He said Touton had  proposed to pay $537,306.00 as premium for the total beans produced by the 6,000 farmers and subsequently preserve them through a traceability system and finally delivered to the company.

From this amount, Mr Atta-Krah said $232,600.00 would be given to the farmers in the form of direct cash and premium items comprising 242 motorised sprayers and 6,050 wellington boots.

He said, each society, made up of 50 farmers, would be given two motorised sprayers to start a gang-spraying programme, while the remaining $304,706.00 would be used to run the certification programme, as well as establish and maintain infrastructure to manage the programme.

He expressed the hope that within the next two years, the programme would be able to train about 25 per cent of farmers to undergo certification and,  therefore, urged Touton to look for market for certified cocoa to meet the programme’s projections.

By Timothy Gobah/Daily Graphic/Ghana