The Western Regional Minster, Paul Evans Aidoo, has called on Cocoa Buying Companies to extend their support to the communities they buy their produce from.
According to him, numerous problems facing these communities ranging from bad roads, lack of potable water, health facilities and other social amenities can be leveraged only if these cocoa buying companies go a little further by extending their support to these communities.
The Minister was speaking at the Premium Ceremony for the Walter Matter and Federated Commodities (FEDCO) Sustainability Project at Samreboi in the Western Region.
Although cocoa farmers occupy a very important role in the cocoa value chain in Ghana, most cocoa buying companies ignore their welfare. Most of these communities are ignored hence lacking the basic necessities of life such as potable water.
To avert this, a team of consultants from (FEDCO), Walter Matter SA and Chocolate Frey in Switzerland visited six districts in the Western region namely; Wassa Akropong, Manso Amenfi, Asankragwa, Samreboi A&B and Akontonbra to conduct a needs assessment project last year.
The reason for this assessment was to identify the real needs of the cocoa farmers and find means of addressing some of these needs. The needs identified in the report were in the areas of healthcare, potable water, road networks, education infrastructure and entrainment facilities.
The Managing Director of FEDCO, Alhaji Abdul Razak Adamu, announced that during the year under review, which is 2013/2014 crop season, the six districts involved in the project were able to produce close to 8,000MT of certified cocoa beans.
The ceremony therefore, is to officially hand over to the farmers, their share of the premium received from the certified cocoa sold during the year under review and also outdoor some projects implemented in some communities in which they operate.
This year, FEDCO and its Partners have set aside an amount of GHC 2,442,000.00 to support the farmers; GHC 1,042,000.00 for the purchase and supply of farm inputs and logistics to the farmers and the other half for provision of potable water for the community.
The managing director announced that a pilot Farmers Business School (FBS) has also started to build farmers’ capacity in entrepreneurial and management skills. The school will enable farmers to learn and improve their knowledge, change their attitudes and enhance their skills towards improved farm commercialization.
The Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, noted, all the bad roads in this country are in the Cocoa growing areas and promised that situations where funds meant for the provision of social amenities in these areas are being diverted to other already developed communities will be the thing of the past.
He called on the cocoa farmers to desist from giving up their cocoa farms for illegal small-scale mining operations commonly called “galamsey” and rather use the land profitably by growing more cocoa.
He urged the farmers to make good use of the farm items presented to them by FEDCO.
The two Partners, Walter Matter SA and Chocolate Frey praised the cocoa farmers, saying among the cocoa beans they purchase from the world, the best cocoa beans come from Ghana and encouraged them to always keep to that quality standard.
The Ghana Cocoa board also used the occasion to reiterate their support to FEDCO in all their activities in order to promote development.
source : myjoyonline.com