From Ernest Best Anane, Nyinahin-Otaakrom .
Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Company Limited, a subsidiary of Barry Callebaut, has launched Forever Chocolate programme at Otaakrom in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region.
It is to make chocolate sustainable and an alternative livelihood to help farmers improve production, protect their lands and families, and emancipate about 100,000 farmers from poverty by 2025.
Mr. Robert Asugre, Country Sustainability Manager of Nyonkopa Ghana, explained at the launch that the aim of the project was to help improve the living standards of farmers.
According to him, Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited is the first cocoa buying company to introduce a farmers pension scheme, employ more youth as coordinators, provide about 75 boreholes to some farming communities, 47,000 mosquitoes nets for farmers, and provided street lights to most of the farming communities in the cocoa growing areas, as part of its corporate social responsibility.
He mentioned that the company assists farmers in the rearing of animals and plantations, and provision of stoves for cooking, as measures to protect the forests and poultry production to improve their financial status, aside cocoa production.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), who was represented by Mr. Samuel Amponsah, Executive Director of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division, commended Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Company for the the good initiatives and projects to improve the lives of farmers.
He stated that COCOBOD and the government would also do whatever it takes to partner Nyonkopa Ghana to improve production.
Mr. Williams Darko, District Chief Executive, also commended the company for the laudable project to alleviate poverty among farmers, and also to help protect their families.
He disclosed that the Assembly would complement the efforts of the company to vigorously fight against child labour in the area, to ensure that the district is child-labour free to improve the lives of the children of school-going age in cocoa growing communities. .
Dr. Emmanuel Klotey, Executive Director of the Seeds Production Division of COCOBOD, commended Nyonkopa, and expressed the Board’s appreciation for the good work done so far.
He said COCOBOD would always support of the Forever Chocolate programme, to ensure that their dream, which is in line with the government’s commitment to improve cocoa production to alleviate poverty among the farmers, becomes a reality.
Dr. Klotey disclosed that COCOBOD is monitoring the about 40 cocoa buying companies in Ghana to ensure that the right thing is done to achieve the government’s goal of giving farmers what is due them.