Beneficiary farmer's of Cadbury Cocoa Partnership (CCP) on Monday lauded the positive impact the programme interventions were making in the communities and lives of farmers.
CCP, a multinational public-private initiative, aimed at addressing problems of farmers in cocoa growing communities through interventions to help farmers adopt good farming practices and to educate them about ways to ensure sustainable incomes.
Mr. Samuel Tettey Komlorm, a farmer at Asikasu-New Juaben, said the partnership programme in its fourth year of implementation, has helped to enhance the understanding of farmers on the economic, social and environmental benefits of farming activities.
“At our own meetings we discuss issues such as application of agro-chemicals and work that our children should be involved in,” Mr Komlorm told journalists at a day’s seminar on the activities of the programme.
He said good agronomic practices introduced to farmers are enabling farmers to increase yields through support of extension officers.
Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Programme Director of Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, said Cocoa production was being driven by improved farmer training delivered by Community Extension Agents, rehabilitation of moribund farms, and improved growing conditions.
Besides, there is also improved farm management with about 77% of farmers now weeding their farms as required while 50.1% harvest every month, she said.
Mrs Amekudzi said through the partnership, Cadbury cocoa ambassadors programme was encouraging the youth to take up cocoa farming after their education to the highest level, and that with education there was a change in attitude among the youth in the communities leading to 41% of youth now engaged fully in cocoa farming
She However said secondary income opportunities in the communities were still limited and this often led parents to pressure their children to leave and seek greener pastures in the cities.
Mrs Amekudzi urged the communities to make use of the Community Challenge Fund to finance community projects to improve lives, adding that 180 community initiated development projects are on the ground.
Also, some Community action plans were integrated into district development plans, resulting in 210 and 159 community projects financed by the District Assemblies and donors respectively.
Mrs Amekudzi said the Partnership would apart from other areas, be focusing this year on certification of cocoa to boost the income of farmers saying there are currently over 21,000 farmers and 33 extension agents in 206 communities are benefiting from the programme.
The Partnership was established in 2008 with the objective of supporting sustainable cocoa communities and improving the lives of half a million cocoa farmers and their families by 2018.
The Partnership is investing Ł30 million over the ten-year period in projects to help cocoa farmers transform their lives through improving cocoa farmer incomes by helping farmers increase their yields and produce top quality beans.
It will also introduce new sources of rural income through microfinance and business support, to kick start new rural businesses and introduce additional income streams, such as growing other crops and investing in community led development to improve life in cocoa communities.
In Ghana, a community-centred governance structure has been established in partnership with UNDP, the Government of Ghana, local trade union experts and CARE, VSO and the World Vision.
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