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$40m Livelihood Program For Cocoa Farmers

 

prog_cocoa_farmersA $40 million programme that is expected to improve the lives of cocoa farmers has been launched in Accra in response to the increase in the quality and production of cocoa in Ghana.

 

The five-year programme, which is expected to commence in the 2010 season, would improve the incomes of 60,000 cocoa farmers and their households located in 21 Districts in the Ashanti, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern and Central regions.

The Cocoa livelihood programme is sponsored by the Ghana Cocoa Board, World Cocoa Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and 12 chocolate and cocoa companies.

It would be implemented through a consortium of five other organizations.

The beneficiaries of the programme would be equipped with business skills. It would also establish business centers and market information services.

Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, in a speech, noted that the programme is being implemented at “an opportune time when the Ghana Cocoa Board had been tasked to review its strategies to achieve the one million tonnes of cocoa production by 2012.”

He urged the COCOBOD to ensure that its activities do not duplicate the projects to be implemented under the cocoa livelihood programme.

Tony Fofie, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, noted that “to achieve the one million tonnes cocoa production target by 2012, the welfare of cocoa farmers would have to be improved tremendously.”

COCOBOD has initiated various projects including social security scheme, housing for cocoa farmers, feeder roads, solar powered boreholes, hospitals, clinics and solar street lights.

He assured that his outfit would strive to support any policy that is aimed at motivating cocoa farmers to produce more cocoa.

Mr. Fofie called for the surfacing of roads in cocoa growing areas.

Mbalo Ndiaye, the Programme Director of the Cocoa Livelihood Programme, stated that farmers would be assisted to access credit and planting materials from various institutions.

The programme would be replicated in five other African countries including Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire to target 200,000 cocoa farmers.

Credit: dailyguideghana.com

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