About 14,400 UTZ certified cocoa farmers in two regions – Ashanti and Western, are to benefit from a bonus of GH¢1,147,696.00.
The money will be made available by Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Company Limited, a subsidiary of Barry Callebaut – the world’s leading supplier of high quality chocolate and cocoa products.
Mr. Joshy Varkey, Managing Director of the Company, who announced this said a total of 15,039 farmers were registered for the UTZ certification but 639 could not make the mark.
The UTZ certification is a cocoa sustainability programme to promote socially and environmentally responsible cocoa production that meets the needs of both producers and market.
Mr. Varkey presented a dummy cheque for the amount at a farmers’ durbar held by the licensed cocoa buying company at Sefwi-Bekwai in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District.
He indicated that the welfare of the farmer was at the heart of the activities of his company and pledged to continue to assist them to adopt best practices to maintain the quality of the nation’s cocoa beans.
Doing this, he said, was the way forward to sustain the premium on Ghana’s cocoa.
Mr. Varkey re-echoed their unwavering commitment to the goal of lifting about 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty by year 2025.
This was being done through training, financing and the supply of improved planting materials to boost crop yield and returns.
Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, the Western Regional Minister, called for the produce buying and chocolate companies to push for the payment of fair prices to the farmer on the world market.
He said this was in their own interest because that was the way to motivate them to keep their cocoa farms and enable the companies to stay in business.
He expressed discomfort with the situation where many farmers had remained poor and said that “ought not to be so, considering the labor and effort they put in to get quality beans for the chocolate companies”.
Dr. Afriyie warned that if this did not change some of them could abandon cocoa
Nana Mensah Konadu, the District Chief Farmer, who received the cheque, thanked the company for the strong support to cocoa farmers.