West Africa: Ghana cocoa farmers receive first UTZ incentive bonuses

Cocoa certification has started to pay dividends to cocoa farmers in the Western North cocoa region of Ghana who received their first premiums. The outcome is as a result of a tripartite arrangement of Solidaridard, Akuafo Adamfo – Cocoa Buyer and Cargill, processing company, during a ceremony at Sefwi Bekwai.

In pursuit of its vision to create sustainable supply chains from the producer to the consumer, in 2011 Solidaridad brokered the tripartite relationship between Akuafo Adamfo and Cargill in a drive to promote sustainable cocoa production through certification.

After a year of training and implementation of the UTZ certified requirements, the first batch of farmers received GH ₵320 000 ($ 164, 103) for their UTZ certified cocoa bean purchased in 2012 by Cargill through Akuafo Adamfo. UTZ is a certification programme which promotes increased productivity and quality.

The importance of cocoa certification

As the cocoa demand continues to grow at about 2% annually, the world will require at least one million more metric tons to meet cocoa demand by 2020. This has led to the advocacy and adoption of sustainable cocoa farming practices through product certification to meet the demand.

Cocoa certification entails production in adherence to set standards that specify acceptable farming, environmental and social practices in cocoa production. The standards allows for the cocoa product to be traced through the whole supply chain.

According to Vincent Manu, Ghana cocoa Country Manager for Solidaridad, the certification of cocoa is important as a tool to promote sustainability and improved livelihoods for farmers. “As an organisation we are working with supply chain players (farmers, buyers, cocoa processors, and governments) to adopt certification standards such as UTZ that promote cocoa sustainability,” Manu added.

Solidaridad’s farmer field school

In the project, Solidaridad uses the farmer field school approach to train and support farmers to produce sustainable cocoa in line with the codes on the UTZ certification standard. The programme also helps to strengthen farmer organisations and encourage knowledge sharing amongst cocoa growers.

Kojo Amoo-Gottfried, Managing Director of Cargill, applauded the role of Solidaridad of training cocoa farmers to adopt and adhere to UTZ standards in their production processes. He further expressed Cargill’s commitment in ensuring that about 15 000 farmers would be covered in the 4-year project.

The project also covers social issues like awareness around HIV/Aids and the importance of eliminating child labour; and ensuring that children are afforded the right to education. The application of better farming practices by farmers will not only bring better income; but also lead to improved socio-economic conditions for their communities.