Solidaridad West Africa training partner in Cargill's Sustainable Cocoa Program in Ghana

Cargill's cocoa & chocolate business – in close cooperation with the Ghana Cocoa Board – is expanding its Cargill Sustainable Cocoa Program with the launch of an extensive four year commitment to farmer training in Ghana.

The training will be delivered in partnership with Ghanaian licensed cocoa buying company Akuafo Adamfo and the non-governmental organization Solidaridad West Africa. This program aims to train 15,000 farmers and support cocoa farming communities over the next four years in the Ashanti and Western regions of Ghana.

In Farmer Field Schools, farmers will receive extensive training to help them rejuvenate cocoa farms and apply best agricultural practices related to pest control, harvest and post-harvest practices. The initiative will also cover social issues like raising awareness of HIV and the importance of schooling for children. Crucially the program will help strengthen farmer organizations and encourage knowledge sharing amongst cocoa growers. All training will be in accordance with the UTZ Certified Code of Conduct.

Better farming practices, better yields

"Helping farmers adopt better farming practices so they can improve the quality and size of their yields is a central part of the Cargill Sustainable Cocoa Program," explained Kojo Amoo-Gottfried, Managing Director of Cargill Ghana. "Over the next four years, these training activities will help Ghanaian cocoa farmers to achieve better results and benefit from achieving UTZ certification." The target for the first year is to train 5,000 farmers to become independently certified. By 2016 the program aims to have significantly improved agricultural practices adopted by farmers and farmer organizations.

Throughout the program, agricultural extension officers from the Ghana Cocoa Board will receive coaching to act as facilitators in order to provide farmers with guidance and best practice examples. The certified cocoa beans will be processed at Cargill's state-of-the-art cocoa processing plant in Tema and can be traced throughout the supply chain as they become Gerkens® Ghana cocoa powders – used by food manufacturers worldwide. From certified farmer to final product, Cargill is developing a fully traceable and sustainable cocoa supply chain in Ghana.

Improving the lives and living standards of Ghanaian cocoa farmers

Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said: "We are pleased to see that Cargill is investing in sustainable cocoa farming practices in Ghana and is strengthening its current efforts. This new program of farmer training will complement our existing initiatives and assist in our development of the industry, by improving the lives and living standards of Ghanaian cocoa farmers."

The launch of farmer training in Ghana complements Cargill's successful farmer training activities in Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Vietnam and underlines Cargill's belief that training farmers successfully is key to building a sustainable supply chain as well as helping increase farmers' incomes and supporting the future growth of cocoa farming.