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WCF To Launch Livelihoods Programme in Ghana   
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The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) will launch the Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP) in Ghana at a ceremony to the held in Accra. The programme, first announced in February this year, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 12 chocolate industry companies and is expected to significantly improve the livelihoods of nearly 60,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana over the next five years.

“We welcome this opportunity to improve the lives of so many Ghanaian cocoa farmers and look forward to collaborating with other stakeholders to make this programme a success,” said Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ghana Cocoa Board.

Fofie said, “Since February, the Ghana Cocoa Board has been actively engaged with the programme’s Steering Committee to plan for the start of activities in the 2010 growing season.”The work in Ghana is part of a larger, five country programme targeting 200,000 cocoa growing households across Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroun and Liberia.

Activities in Ghana will focus on improving production and quality at the farm level, equipping farmers with business skills, promoting diversification of income, and improving access to inputs and support services. In Ghana, 21 districts in the Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Western and Central regions will benefit from the programme. Accra will serve as the headquarters for the programme.

“Making real progress against hunger and poverty starts with small farmers,” said Richard Rogers, programme officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He indicated that crops like cocoa represent a critical portion of Africa’s agricultural economy, and improving farmer knowledge and productivity, and the quality of cocoa production, can help these small farmers boost their yields and incomes so they can improve their lives.

“This programme builds on the success of previous government initiatives and cocoa sector development programmes like the Sustainable Tree Crops Programme, funded by the US Agency for International Development, and the cocoa industry,” said Mbalo Ndiaye of the World Cocoa Foundation, the Programme’s Director.
Source: B. Week

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