The Barry Callebaut Group is to expand its signature cocoa sector sustainability programme, the Cocoa Horizons, to more farmers and communities in the country.
The decision to expand the programme was announced during a special event attended by local business communities and government leaders.
It is to be implemented through Barry Callebaut’s wholly owned subsidiary, Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited, which was acquired by Barry Callebaut in 2015.
Essence of Cocoa Horizons
A statement from the company said the Cocoa Horizons programme is aimed at improving the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers through farm and community level activities.
It is part of the company’s initiatives to help ensure that cocoa is grown in a sustainable way and generates better income for farmers while safeguarding the environment.
It explained that under the Cocoa Horizons, participants are trained on good agricultural practices (GAP), good environmental practices (GEP) and good social practices (GSP), using farmer field schools and individual coaching as well as practical demonstrations.
“The programme also includes initiatives to empower women, protect children and provide basic education and health, the statement added.
Beneficiaries in Ghana
In Ghana, 7,500 farmers in 16 cocoa districts are currently enrolled in the Cocoa Horizons Programme.
“That number is expected to exceed 22,000 farmers by the 2016/2017 crop year. This year, GH¢650,000 (US$161,692) will be paid out in premiums to farmers enrolled in the programme,” the statement said.
“It added that the project team responsible for the delivery and implementation of Cocoa Horizons consists of community-based lead farmers and representatives from Barry Callebaut’s subsidiary Nyonkopa including technical officers and a project manager.
The Vice President for Global Cocoa Sustainability for Barry Callebaut and Managing Director of Biolands, Mr. Nicko Debenham, said, “Barry Callebaut is committed to the realisation of a sustainable cocoa sector in Ghana and other origin countries.
“Leveraging our presence with Nyonkopa, we can provide access to sustainability training in the areas of productivity enhancement, community development, and farm services to an even greater number of cocoa farmers in Ghana.”
The statement explained that establishing the next generation of farmers was a critical factor in preventing cocoa supply shortage in years to come.
“Cocoa Horizons also strives to reinforce cocoa farming as an attractive and profitable business for young, entrepreneurial-minded farmers in Ghana,” it added.