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US$14m Package For Cocoa Farmers In Africa   
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Over 100,000 cocoa farmers in four Central and West African countries, including Ghana, are to benefit from a US$14 million package from the Africa Cocoa Initiative (ACI) within the next five years.

The ACI, a public-private partnership with interest in cocoa production, is expected to use the US$14 million to complement locally grown cocoa support mechanisms in Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and Cote d’ Ivoire to increase and improve the crop‘s yield in the coming years.

The initiative is at the instance of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) with support from the governments of the four beneficiary countries and some stakeholders in the cocoa industry.

The Chief of Party of the ACI, Mr Kwasi Yeboah-Konadu, told the Daily Graphic after the official launch of the initiative in Accra that ACI is aiming at doubling the cocoa production figures of an estimated 100,000 farmers in the four beneficiary countries within five years.

To achieve such an objective, Mr Yeboah-Konadu said ACI would be working at strengthening investments in cocoa sectors, increasing cocoa productivity by improving input supply chains, enhancing training programmes for cocoa farmers and fostering market-driven services in the cocoa sectors of the four countries, which the various countries are already working at.

The President of the WCF, Bill Guyton, however, explained during a media briefing prior to the launch that “ACI is not coming to tell the countries what they should do because they are already doing some of these things. What the initiative seeks to do is to complement the efforts of these countries and the various stakeholders in the sector so that cocoa production figures can go up for the farmers and the countries to get more incomes and revenue.”

He said the ACI’s US$14 million was the result of contributions from the USAID, IDH and some 14 companies with interest in cocoa that were partners to the initiative.

He could, however, not say how much of the money would be allocated to each benefiting country except to say each country would benefit from the package based on the country’s accessed priorities and needs in cocoa related issues.

The Public Relations Manager of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Noah Amenya, said at the briefing that the board was grateful to the brains behind the initiative and expressed the hope that it would work to compliment the efforts of COCOBOD, the body that oversees all activities related to the country’s cocoa industry.
Source: Daily Graphic

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