Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited, a subsidiary of Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer has launched a project seeking to among other objectives, eradicate poverty among cocoa farmers.
The project dubbed, “Forever Chocolate Programme” is expected to lift about 100,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty by 2025 through alternative livelihood support initiatives. It is initially going to be piloted for 18 months in six cocoa districts including Konongo, Bekwai, Wiawso, Nyinahin and Nkawie, after which it would be extended to other districts where the company operates.
Under the project, each farmer will be enrolled in an individualized farm business plan as a central vehicle to lift farmer households out of poverty and optimize the farm. At the farm level, the activities encompass interventions to increase cocoa productivity, diversify crops and income sources as well as provide low carbon technologies.
Launching the project at Otaakrom in the Atwima Mponua District, the Sustainability Manager for Nyonkopa Cocoa, Mr. Robert Asugri said beneficiary farmers would be introduced to other alternative livelihood activities aside cocoa farming to increase their sources of income.
He said the farmers would be organized into self-help groups and receive comprehensive training and coaching in mushroom and poultry production. Households would also be provided with seedlings and trained to identify the most productive and nutritious cultivars of three to four vegetable crops in a home garden setting.
These, he said, would enhance the economic potentials of the farmers and give them options during cocoa offseasons. Mr. Asugri said the company would continue to prioritize the welfare of farmers, adding that, 45,000 insecticide mosquito nets had so far been distributed to farmers in their operational areas.
The company has also sunk 75 boreholes in cocoa growing areas whilst efforts are being made to supply street lights to such communities, he added. Mr. Samuel Amponsah, a Representative of COCOBOD applauded the company for the numerous interventions it had rolled out for its clients over the years.
He said most of their programmes were in tune with the vision of COCOBOD to improve the lives of cocoa farmers through increased yields and provision of basic amenities. He used the occasion to caution produce buying companies to desist from cheating cocoa farmers by adjusting their scales, saying that culprits would be severely dealt with when caught.