Beneficiary Farmers Laud Cadbury Cocoa Partnership Training School

Beneficiary farmers’ of Cadbury Cocoa Partnership (CCP) projects in communities in the Wassa Mpohor East District have lauded the programme’s financial literacy intervention saying it had helped to improve savings among farmers. Mr. Kingsford Kpogo, Secretary to the CCP Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing society Limited in Sekyere Krobo-Dua, said the informal business school on basic financial management had spurred members on to set up a loans and savings company. “Indeed, on the advice of CCP, farmers decided to set up the loans and savings scheme to enable farmers put away some of their earnings and to also support them in their time of needs to improve lives,” he said, adding that through the financial training members were also able to do basic bookkeeping. 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. Kpogo, who took to farming cocoa after secondary education, said the CCP programme interventions in the last three years had brought many benefits to the farmers and transform lives. “Until the intervention we used to plant at very short intervals between the cocoa crops. But with education from extension officers we now plant leaving very wide distances allowing us to grow other food crops in between,” he said. Mr. Christian Agbeko, another farmer, 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 fertilizers, with the help of extension officers and child labour issues,” he said, adding that the adoption of such effective agronomic practices introduced to farmers are enabling farmers to increase yields through support of extension officers. Nana Charles Assan, a sub-chief of Sekyere Adiembra, another beneficiary community, said school children had benefited from bicycle donations to ensure they commute to school easily and also solar lanterns to support learning in the night. The local school in the community had also been fitted with solar lamps while there are plans to build a quarters to ensure good accommodation for teacher’s posted to the community. Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Programme Director of Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, said the partnership aimed at ensuring sustainable cocoa production through various interventions such as access to inputs, provision of basic amenities and fair prices for cocoa to enhance the income of farmers and to ensure that the communities thrive. 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 £30 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-centered governance structure has been established in partnership with UNDP, the Government of Ghana, local trade union experts and CARE, VSO and the World Vision.