Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has said the development of Ghana’s cocoa sector remains key to the country’s socio-economic advancement with significant contributions towards the enhancement of livelihoods in cocoa-growing communities.
“The benefits from the cocoa sector remains enormous as it offers a reliable source of income to farmers and provides both formal and informal employment to the young, old, educated, and uneducated within the industry,” she said.
The Chief of Staff was speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a six-unit school project by Cargill Ghana, a Cocoa Processing and Licensed Buying Company and CARE International Ghana at Adjei Kojo in Tema West Municipality.
The project, which is part of Cargill’s plan to build six schools in five cocoa production districts, and one in Tema West, is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.
It is also aligned with its promise to strategically improve incomes and living standards of farmers and their communities while growing cocoa sustainably.
The School project comprises three primary schools, two kindergarten blocks, and one Junior High School in Western North Region and Adjei Kojo in Tema West municipality.
Mrs Osei-Opare said the President remained committed to supporting efforts aimed at encouraging growth and investment in the cocoa sector.
She said access to educational infrastructure by wards of cocoa farmers turn to offer positive outlook for the sector and enhances sustainability of the local economy.
He said, government would continue to ensure that the country maintained its global position as a quality producer of cocoa with Cargill and other partners playing key roles in building Ghana’s sustainable cocoa sector.
She said supporting communities and protecting farm lands and its achievements were directly aligned with the fulfilment of several action plans and bills highlighted within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The Chief of Staff said, ensuring a sustainable cocoa sector was key on the value chain which could be effectively realised through the provision of certain life-changing facilities such as schools.
“The construction of six schools in different cocoa growing areas across the country is a positive step towards the elimination of the worse forms of child labour in cocoa growing communities.
“It will also motivate children of school going age to have access to quality education with state-of-the-art facilities,” she explained.
She noted that government considered education of all children at all levels as a national priority and commended Cargill in partnering the government in achieving this national goal.
She expressed optimism that through the project, children around cocoa-growing communities and Adjei Kojo in Tema West would receive quality basic education which would significantly contribute to the course of developing community resilience and the long-term sustainability of the cocoa sector.
Deputy Minister for Education, John Ntim Fordjour, described access to education as key priority of the government, as it had invested monumentally in education, directly aligned to the Sustainable Development Goal four of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
He commended Cargill for their investment in education, and said, “the most important social intervention is to target education as that would yield dividends in the future to enhance outputs”.