Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Barry Callebaut AG, one of the leading cocoa processing companies in the world have signed an agreement to commit to a project that will ensure sustainable cocoa farming in Ghana.
The project will help create a cocoa sector that will generate living incomes for cocoa farmers whilst ensuring that the sector is free from the worst forms of child labour and deforestation.
The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo and his counterpart, Mr. Antoine de Saint- Afrique, Chief Executive Officer of Barry Callebaut signed the agreement at the headquarters of Barry Callebaut in Zurich, Switzerland.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Hon Boahen Aidoo expressed happiness with the collaboration, commending Barry Callebaut for their continuous support to the cocoa sector. According to him, government is committed to add value to the raw cocoa bean produced in Ghana, a situation that will enable cocoa processors in the country to improve their production to tertiary level.
The COCOOBOD Chief believes one important factor which is always less discussed is the issue of pricing.
According to him, although the world cocoa market price had not been stable for some time, COCOBOD put in place measures to ensure that remunerative farm gate prices were paid to farmers in an effort to motivate them, improve their livelihoods and sustain production.
He further stated that the move would help curb the menace of small-scale mining (galamsey) and other issues currently confronting the cocoa sector.
“The issue of child labour is of great concern to us, we are strongly against it. No farmer would want to see his or her child on the farms. They also want their children to attain higher heights. To this end, Ghana Cocoa Board together with stakeholders are committed to supporting the need to put in place adequate measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in our cocoa farms to ensure that the menace is eradicated completely”, he added.
He was hopeful that the agreement between the two organizations would go a long way to ensure a sustainable cocoa economy.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Barry Callebaut, Mr. Antoine de Saint- Afrique lauded the partnership between the two institutions. He pledged his outfit’s commitment to contributing to the growth of Ghana’s cocoa industry, by initiating projects that would support the next generation of cocoa farmers through access to agricultural lands, financing, among others.
According to him, the collaboration would also help COCOBOD replant farms affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) and also include an agroforestry approach to diversifying cocoa farmers’ income.
The two parties were optimistic that the partnership would see the two organizations working together to enhance the conditions of the cocoa farmer whilst ensuring a sustainable cocoa economy.