Business News of 2013-12-04

Cocoa farmers get €7m grant

The Netherlands Embassy in Ghana has committed €7million towards a Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Project (CORIP) in the country to boost the competitiveness of the cocoa sector.

The project, dubbed CORIP, is supposed to last four years and would be managed and co-ordinated by Solidaridad West Africa, a company committed to the growth of the cocoa sector in Ghana.

The two bodies have subsequently signed an agreement to that effect in Accra.

It is aimed at developing economic, social and environmentally sustainable support for cocoa farmers in the main cocoa producing regions of the country.

The grant also makes provision for technical support for farmers to rehabilitate old farms and intensify existing cocoa systems. It would also work with the Cocoa, research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to boost availability of improved planting materials for the farmers.

The programme will also target entrepreneurial farmers who want to develop their cocoa farms into sustainable and viable business enterprises.

CORIP will also spearhead the establishment and operation of cocoa rural service centres (RSC) to promote and upscale cocoa production in a sustainable self-financing way and would also provide training, information, inputs and technical support for improved cocoa production.

The Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Hans Docter, said at the signing ceremony yesterday that the programme was part of his country’s policy of combining trade and development cooperation.

“The programme shows that public and private interests can go hand in hand to add value without the government having to take on additional burden to increase export revenue, make production more sustainable and improve farmer’s profit,” he said.

The Managing Director of Solidaridad West Africa, Mr Isaac Gyamfi, said in an interview that the investments were aimed at improving the capacity of cocoa farmers to ultimately improve cocoa yield.

The programme was jointly developed by a consortium of cocoa sector partners and industry companies, including the International Fertiliser Development Corporation (IFDC), Armajaro, Cargill, ECOM, Barry Callebaut, ADM and Continaf. Indications are that more cocoa companies will participate in its implementation.