Cocoa farmers promised better lives under Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd
Cargill Ghana Ltd has formally launched its Licensed Buying Company (LBC) – Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd – in Ghana, a move which makes it possible for the company to purchase cocoa directly from certified farmers.
The company enters the purchasing business in Ghana with an innovation of paying directly through the mobile accounts of the certified farmers.
The highly innovative, risk free arrangements by Cargill Ghana is to improve the lives of cocoa farmers across the country.
President, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, Harold Poelma said the move is part of efforts to put the cocoa farmer at the centre of the cocoa business.
According to him, over 25,000 cocoa farmers have been registered out of which 9,000 are actively selling beans through Cargill’s LBC network.
The launch of the LBC "signifies a major transformation of the sector," he observed.
Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd is also part of a major project -the Cargill Cocoa Promise- which has been in operation since November 2012 in Ivory Coast and which will be replicated in Ghana.
The Cargill Cocoa Promise is a three-prong-ambition to offer training to farmers; provide community support for projects and campaigns in cocoa growing areas including the fight against child labour and finally to encourage farmer development activities. The aim of the project, Cargill believes is to provide shared growth, anchored on sustainable development for stakeholders in the cocoa value chain.
In a goodwill message to Cargill, the head of COCOBOD Joseph Boahene Aidoo, believes Cargill's LBC should improve upon the productivity of farmers and enhance their welfare in many significant ways.
He said the ambition of COCOBOD is to attain the president's 1 million tonnes of cocoa within the shortest possible time and to have 50% of that cocoa processed in Ghana.
Boahene Aidoo, said Cargill will be needed in the quest to process the cocoa beans.
"We will play our part as COCOBOD. We expect other stakeholders to also play theirs," he said.
The Deputy Agric Minister, designate William Quaitoo reiterated the president's vision which he said is to meet the 1 million tonnes of cocoa by the end of his first term.
Whilst congratulating Cargill for acquiring its own license to purchase cocoa beans directly from the farmers, he was quick to warn that the ministry will not tolerate any acts of irregularity by Cargill.
He recounted how some LBCs flouted the regulations and proceeded to pay bribes to the supervisory institutions to avert any form of sanction against them.
Quaitoo said an Akufo-Addo government will not tolerate any form of underhand dealing, insisting any acts of irregularity by Cargill will be dealt with.
The Deputy Trade Minister nominee, Carlos Ahenkora, who was also the guest of honour was happy with the move by Cargill, insisting it falls in line with the partnership arrangement with the private sector.
"The private sector remains critical tool for our job creation agenda," he said and appealed to Cargill to consider taking advantage of the government's one district, one factory project.
The launch was attended by a cross section of cocoa farmers, whose representative Nana Ackah Joseph, Chief farmer in Sefwi charged Cargill and other stakeholders to involve farmers in the policies they formulate.
He also called for better inputs for farmers to improve productivity, and appealed to Cargill to also introduce a seperate schorlarship scheme for children of cocoa farmers.