One hundred and seventy-seven female cocoa farmer groups have received mechanised farming inputs valued at GH¢2,336,544 to empower them to improve on their yields.
The groups were sampled from 177 cocoa-growing communities in six districts: Amansie West, Asunafo North and Ahafo Ano North. The rest are Bia West, Sekyere East and Juaboso districts.
Each of the groups received two mechanised pruners and sprayers together with some safety accessories such as wellington boots, helmets, nose masks, gloves and protective goggles.
In addition, each of the Cocoa Farmer Co-operatives in all the 177 communities received manual pruners and sprayers to be used as backup.
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The beneficiaries had earlier received training on best modern cocoa farming practices.
The inputs were presented by Mondelez International Cocoa Life Ghana, the world’s largest chocolate company, to support national initiatives to increase cocoa production and empower women in the agriculture sector.
The Cocoa Life Ghana initiative is the organisation’s social intervention programme that was rolled out in 2008 in 100 cocoa-growing communities to boost the production of the cash crop to enhance farmers’ income.
The Country Lead of Mondelez International Cocoa Life, Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, said the organisation’s main vision was to help farmers increase cocoa production and create thriving communities by empowering cocoa farmers, particularly women. She further explained that although the women groups were expected to manage the equipment and use it to work on their respective farms collaboratively, they were also to lend it to other cocoa farmers in the district upon request.
“Many women in Ghana are cultivating cocoa on their own, or alongside their husbands and other male relatives. Research has indicated that more than 70 per cent of the task in the cocoa farms are done by the women and that makes it imperative that conscious interventions are implemented to empower women in cocoa farming; hence, our abiding pledge for parity,” she said.
Mrs Amekudzi said a participatory research with female cocoa farmers identified harvesting and pruning as the two most burdensome activities in the cultivation of cocoa, adding that “as a result, women are forced to hire labour with their meager resources to carry out those activities.”
According to her, Mondelez International had so far committed $100 million towards the implementation of sustainable cocoa farming interventions in Ghana.
“We salute our women cultivating cocoa in Ghana. We celebrate them and we look forward to greater parity in an environment devoid of conscious and unconscious biases against women. Let us work together to transform our communities into thriving places where women, children and men are happy and free to develop,” she said.
On behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs Margaret Agyanim-Boateng expressed gratitude to the company for the gesture and pledged to work hard to increase cocoa production to reciprocate the gesture.