Cocoa Abrabopa Association, A farmer-based organization, has held their 12th Annual General Meeting in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital with a call on government and COCOBOD to strengthen its Productivity Enhancement Programs and make available timely release and distribution of subsidized inputs to farmers.
The 12th Annual General Meeting brought together over four thousand, cocoa farmers from the five cocoa growing regions in Ghana.
Updating shareholders on the association’s performance for the year 2022 at the AGM, the Council Chairman of the Association, Ismail Pomasi indicated the Association’s colorful Annual General Meeting continues to remain the biggest farmers’ gathering in Ghana and provides the platform for the council to account for its stewardship for the period under review.
He seized the opportunity to make a passionate appeal to COCOBOD and the government to strengthen its Productivity Enhancement Programs and initiate a more concerted effort to combat galamsey activities in cocoa growing regions in Ghana.
Mr. Pomasi, also wants the frequent delay in the release of the Seed Fund from the Ghana Cocoa Board to Licensed Buying Companies to be re-looked at because the challenge is collapsing the operations of indigenous LBC’s and reduces supplies of certified cocoa volumes demanded by CAA’s customers.
He disclosed that, the 2023/2024 cocoa season commenced three months now ago, however the local LBC’s are yet to receive Seed Funds from COCOBOD to enable them buy the Ghanaian cocoa farmers’ beans; this is a worry to the Association.“Cocoa Abrabopa is committed to improving the lives of cocoa farmers through appropriate and sustainable socioeconomic interventions.
“In our quest to improve on premium payments to beneficiary members, we introduced a Digital Payment System (MoMo) in both 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 seasons to serve members devoid of inconveniences and offered us the opportunity to make bulk payments to members within the shortest possible time in a more transparent manner.
“We have further introduced Living Income Sustainability Initiative for Economic development of members, their households, and communities remain the surest blueprint to cocoa sustainability.
“It is for this reason that CAA has partnered with one of our finest customers Alfred Ritter GmbH, a chocolate manufacturer of the Ritter Sport brand of chocolate products to undertake varied degree of interventions ranging from easy transport system for moving cocoa beans from farm to the Society, farming equipment and inputs, access to potable drinking water and on farm additional livelihoods to improve the living conditions of members at RITTER SPORT designated areas.
“It is gratifying to note that since the inception of the initiative in 2022, a total of 22 tricycles, 30 units of SOLO mist blowers, 4 Mechanized Boreholes with washroom facilities, Agrochemical Inputs Shop and a 2 Snail Farming start- up packages have been commissioned and handed over to beneficiary groups in Bogoso, Tarkwa Aboso, Bonsa and Amantin operational areas all in Western South Cocoa Region of Ghana.
“To our members in other regions, I do not want to give assurances, but discussions have been far advanced with the other customers to replicate this living income model in your various jurisdictions” he indicated.
Sustainability Manager, Wilfred Apiung, says their mission is to improve the livelihoods and incomes of cocoa farmers through gender equity and sustainable cocoa production.
He stated that, despite the challenges, the Association is committed to improving the livelihoods and incomes of cocoa farmers through gender equity and sustainable cocoa production across the six cocoa growing regions.“We are committed to improving the income levels of farmers to bring them above the living income benchmark.
We look at some cost components that can reduce their burden and support them,” he said.
In his remarks, the Operations Manager for CAA, Roland Obosu asked the farmers to let the increased in premium payment to motivate them to produce quality cocoa that would meet the standards, help increase local sourcing and contribute to the local economy.
“The increase in premium payment for you our farmers, is part of the Association’s commitment towards developing thriving and resilient communities within our 39 operational areas” he said.
Acting Executive Secretary for CAA, Patrick John Van Brakel mentioned that these initiatives are to ensure all the farmers conform to the newly introduced Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System and the new Rainforest Alliance Standard.
This, he said, is to position the Association ahead of any International Standards.
The leaders of the farmer groups recounted that the sustainable farm training and support from Cocoa Abrabopa has been beneficial to their cocoa production.
They were grateful to CAA for introducing and teaching them to alternative livelihoods as cocoa farmers as alternative source of income and being an advocate for their human rights and helping them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
Present at the 12th Annual General Meeting of the Cocoa Abrabopa Association ceremony were officials from COCOBOD, The Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), Federated Commodities Limited (FEDCO), Adwumapa Buyers Limited (ABL), Representatives of Mars and various Cocoa Farmer Cooperatives.