Business News of 2014-08-01

COCOBOD/ Hershey to sponsor 3 cocoa farmers

Three cocoa farmers, will in August, be sponsored to visit the Hershey Company, a leading chocolate producing company in the United States of America, as part of Ghana Cocoa Board’s initiative of sustaining and boosting cocoa production.

Dr Francis Oppong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD in-charge of Agronomy and Quality Control, said the Board has since 1985, been recognizing the efforts of cocoa farmers, who support the economy in various ways.

He made this disclosure during a ceremony organized by the Board in collaboration with the Hershey Company, to officially announce the sponsorship package for cocoa farmers, and to address issues geared towards cocoa sustainability in Ghana.

He said, between 1999 and 2008, best cocoa farmers were sponsored by the Board to visit Britain to participate in the Royal Agricultural Show, aimed at helping the farmers to learn from colleagues abroad, to improve upon farming methodology.

The Deputy CEO said in 2009 the best farmer was sponsored to South Africa, while from 2010 to 2012 the Board sponsored the best cocoa farmers to the UK, to attend the Ashover Agricultural and Horticultural Exhibitions.

Dr. Oppong noted that, since 2012 and 2013, the introduction of the promising young cocoa farmer award had been designed to attract the youth in the cocoa industry, where the 2013 best young farmer was sponsored to participate in the World Cocoa Conference held in Amsterdam, as well as a Chocolate Fair in Switzerland.

Touching on on-going projects, he said COCOBOD is in collaboration with the World Cocoa Foundation to increase the provision of cocoa seedlings to farmers. He said aside the 11 million seedlings supplied to farmers in 2014, COCOBOD will increase supplies to 30 million in 2015, in addition to an aggressive removal programme of trees infected with the swollen shoot disease across cocoa growing areas.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer, on behalf of the Board, expressed his gratitude to Hershey and its partners and expressed the hope that the partnership would continue to help in the sustainability of the cocoa industry, globally.

Mrs. Tawiah Agyarko- Kwarteng, Cocoa Sustainability Manager for Hershey, stated that the company is sponsoring the traveling portion of the national cocoa farmers award, which will select three cocoa farmers to visit the Hershey Company in August.

She said the beneficiaries would be “National Best Farmer 2013, Promising Young Cocoa Farmer 2013 and the newly introduced Female Enterprising Farmer.” She said the tour would provide the farmers the opportunity to witness the company’s products, to be exposed to the manufacturing facilities, and to also interact with various portions of the company’s business.

Mrs. Agyarko-Kwarteng revealed that as part of the company’s social responsibility, Hershey had provided distance learning facilities where students of the Fosco Demonstration School interact with students from Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania for educational experience and cultural exchange.

Ms. Josephine Dadzie, Education Field Associate of Cocoa Link, a special unit of Hershey, briefing stakeholders at the ceremony, said the three-year piloted initiative, where technology on good agricultural practices are transmitted to farmers through voice and text messages, is on course.

She explained that the unit had helped reduce the work of extension officers, and farmers now have the opportunity to receive messages in their local languages and take measures needed to boost production.

Source: GNA
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