Business News of 2014-07-03

Cocoa farmers to get new deal

Considering the high worldwide demand for cocoa beans and its accompanying products, it is essential that cocoa produced in the Ashanti Region, acclaimed as being of high quality, is given further boost.

The new drive is a plan of action adopted by Armajaro Trading, a leading buyer and external dealer in Ghana’s cocoa and coffee, and targeted at about 130,000 local farmers countrywide.

The company proposes to invest about $26 million in cocoa production next year in a bid to expand the industry and enhance the production of the commodity in the country.

Under the new deal, cocoa farmers in the country will not only do business with the company, but would also be assisted to expand their farms and businesses.

At a durbar held with chiefs and cocoa farmers in the region, on the theme: ‘Tray Fermentation; Sustaining the Quality in Cocoa Production’, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mr Teddy Esteve, said the cocoa industry held great prospects for farmers. He advised them to be persevering and hardworking.

At the ceremony, the company distributed GH¢120,000 as incentive to 700 farmers who were considered to have worked very hard to meet set targets. Already, as part if its community social responsibility programme, the company has spent huge sums of money to upgrade the skills of the farmers and paid GH¢120,000 as premium to farmers in the region.

Improving techniques in cocoa farming and the welfare of the farmers would no doubt encourage them to increase production. Armajaro Trading Company’s decision to increase their investment in cocoa production will, no doubt, enhance its standing as a global leader with over 150 years experience in the purchasing of cocoa and coffee beans and improve its dealings with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) as a licensed buying company.

In a bid to make the farmers ready to conform to the new action plan, the company has introduced ‘Tray Fermentation’, which is an improved method of fermenting cocoa beans that the farmers are being encouraged to adopt.

Moreover, besides empowering the farmers with the new investment programme, Armajaro Trading is also partnering the COCOBOD and Source Trust, Promoters of qualitative cocoa producion, in a deal worth $5 million, aimed at improving the incomes of farmers in five cocoa-growing regions in the country. The regions are: Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Western and Central.

In addition, farmers in over 92 cocoa-growing administrative districts across the country will also benefit from new technologies and other investment projects to be introduced by Armajaro Trading.

Among some of the projects are well-equipped Information Communication Technology (ICT) resource centres in 75 rural communities where farmers will update their knowledge in the cocoa industry, the provision of 20,000 improved cocoa seedlings to farmers annually, malaria prevention interventions for farmers and the training of farmers in good agricultural, environmental and business practices.

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