Business News of 2014-08-22

Two companies pay premium to cocoa farmers

AGRO Eco-Louis Bolk Institute (AELBI) and Armajaro Ghana Limited, a private licenced cocoa buying company, have paid a premium of GH¢800,000 to cocoa farmers in the Atwima Mponua District in the Ashanti Region.

The amount covers Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa beans bought from the farmers and sold via Armajaro Trading in the 2013/2014 production year.

About 500 farmers benefited from the payment.

The farmers are part of over 7,000 cocoa farmers who have enrolled in the certification programmes from eight project areas being implemented by AELBI.

The event is the 4th since 2011 when farmer groups from Ntobroso, Tano, Assin Fosu and Asankrangwa got certified for the Rainforest Alliance standards.

Part of the premium goes into running the Internal Management System (IMS) of the various farmer co-operatives and associations and paying the remaining as cash to the farmers who sold their cocoa beans to Armajaro and are part of the certification scheme.

Speaking at the rally at Ntobroso, a Project Leader of AELBI, Mr Dennis Oppong, indicated that the institute was setting up and supporting farmer organisations in sustainable agricultural practices and acquiring certifications such as organic, fairtrade and rainforest alliance.

He encouraged farmers to continue implementing the Sustainable Agriculture Network Standards.

He urged farmers to focus on the key benefits of the certification programmes such as productivity, social and environmental sustainability of cocoa production to motivate them and comply with the standards.

The district chief farmer for the Wassa Amenfi, Mr Peter Dabanka, advised his colleague farmers to implement training that the IMS staff had given them and to also discuss the good practices with other farmers.

He further pleaded to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to expand the fertiliser distribution to ‘Model Farms’ to reach all farmers.

The Chief of Ntobroso, Nana Kwaku Darko, for his part, expressed his gratitude to AELBI for its commitment to supporting farmers and advised that the project be expanded from its scope to reach more farmers.

Present were the district chief farmer of Wassa Amenfi West, Mr Peter Dabankah; the Atwima Mponua District Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Tony Foffie, and a representative from COCOBOD, Mr Owusu Appiah.