More women go into cocoa farming in Bekwai District

BY: Daniel Kenu

More women are engaged in cocoa farming in the Bekwai District in the Ashanti Region.

According to the Sustainability Officer for West Africa of Cocoanect, Ms Anne Van der Veen, this followed a number of policies initiated last year by Cocoa Merchants and their Netherland partners, Cocoanect, both cocoa trading companies, to help women diversify their income to improve on their earnings.

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Nestle Ghana Limited is also another partner in the certified cocoa trading business.

She mentioned that among the policies was the Gender Action Learning for Sustainability plan, which supported women to improve their livelihood in all spheres of life, focusing on cocoa farming.

She also said the supply of seedlings and training in better farming practices helped to generate the interest of women in cocoa farming, leading to an increase in the number of women in the cocoa growing sector in the district from 15 per cent last year to 35 per cent currently. This is out of a total of 4151 cocoa growers in the district.


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Ms Van der Veen made the statement at a ceremony to announce the payment premium to cocoa farmers at Adansi Anhwiaso in the Adansi District.

She said the programme was focused on women because they were better managers of the home and encouraged children to go to school.

She also said under the policy, women in cocoa farming had been grouped to make weekly savings (susu) to support their colleagues women farmers, as well as give soft loans to them to invest in other businesses.

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A total of GH¢1,117.200 was declared to be shared among 17,598 farmers, at GH¢14 cedis per certified bag. It represented an increase of GH¢2 from last year’s payment per a certified bag.

Nestle

The Country Director of Nestle Ghana, Fred Kukubor, said over 17,000 certified farmers across five regions, namely; Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Western and Central had benefited from its Nestle Cocoa Plan.

The plan collaborates with international cocoa trading partners including Cocoa Merchants and Cocoanect to improve the livelihood of an estimated 30 million farmers by 2030.

It is built on three key commitments — better farming practices to improve productivity, better lives by providing access to quality education to their children and improve quality cocoa production.

Cocoa Merchants

The Managing Director of Cocoa Merchants, Alhaji Adamu Abu Fataa, said farming should not be seen by parents as punishment for their children but should be regarded as preparing them to build a better future.