Cargill�s cocoa and chocolate business is to train 15,000 farmers and support cocoa farming communities over the next four years in the Ashanti and Western Regions.
The programme collaboration with Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) underlines its continued support for the country�s cocoa farmers and the development of the cocoa sector, and is also targetted at expanding Cargill�s sustainable cocoa programme toward an extensive commitment to farmer-training in the country.
COCOBOD targets purchasing 800,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in the 2011/2012 crop season, and the local buying companies are confident of sailing over the one million metric tonnes mark when the season closes in June this year.
The Cargill sustainable cocoa programme ensures a better life for cocoa farmers and their families and strengthens the cocoa supply-chain for the future, exercising responsible environmental stewardship.
The programme increases farmer incomes through efficient cocoa production. It offers tangible customer solutions which enable them to join Cargill in the journey toward a sustainable future for cocoa.
The training is expected to be delivered in partnership with licenced cocoa-buying company Akuafo Adamfo, a subsidiary of the Finatrade Group of Companies, and the non-governmental organisation Solidaridad West Africa.
Kojo Amoo-Gottfried, Managing Director of Cargill Ghana, said: �Helping farmers adopt better farming practices so they can improve the quality and size of their yields is a central part of the Cargill sustainable cocoa programme.
�In farmer field-schools, farmers will receive extensive training to help them rejuvenate cocoa farms and apply best agricultural practices related to pest-control, harvest and post-harvest practices.
�Over the next four years, these training activities will help Ghanaian cocoa farmers to achieve better results and benefit from achieving UTZ certification.�
The target for the first year is to train 5,000 farmers to become independently certified. By 2016 the programme aims to have significantly improved agricultural practices adopted by farmers and farmer organisations.
Throughout the programme, agricultural extension officers from the Ghana Cocoa Board will receive coaching to act as facilitators in order to provide farmers with guidance and best-practice examples.
The certified cocoa beans will be processed at Cargill�s state-of-the-art cocoa processing plant in Tema and can be traced throughout the supply chain as they become Gerken�s Ghana cocoa powders � used by food manufacturers worldwide.
From certified farmer to final product, Cargill is developing a fully traceable and sustainable cocoa supply chain in Ghana. Mr. Amoo-Gottfried explained that the initiative will cover social issues like raising awareness of HIV and the importance of schooling for children.
�Crucially, the programme will help strengthen farmer-organisations and encourage knowledge-sharing amongst cocoa growers. All training will be in accordance with the UTZ Certified Code of Conduct.�
Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive of the COCOBOD said: �We are pleased to see that Cargill is investing in sustainable cocoa farming practices in the country, and is strengthening its current efforts.
�This new programme of farmer-training will complement our existing initiatives and assist in our development of the industry, by improving the lives and living standards of Ghanaian cocoa farmers.�
The launch of farmer-training in Ghana complements Cargill�s successful farmer-training activities in C�te d�Ivoire, Cameroon and Vietnam, and underlines Cargill�s belief that training farmers successfully is key to building a sustainable supply chain as well as helping increase farmers� incomes and supporting the future growth of cocoa farming.
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