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Saving Ghana's diminishing rain forests and economically empowering cocoa farmers

The impact of YGL's Organic Cocoa production in Ghana

Mr. Yayrator Glover, the CEO of Yayra Glover Limited (YGL), started an organic cocoa project in Ghana about 13 years ago. The Swiss-educated Ghanaian entrepreneur with deep-roots in Switzerland by relationship, has embarked on an ambitious organic cocoa program that is environmentally sustainable and climate-change resilient

“Our organic cocoa project is saving Ghana's diminishing rain forests, improving the ecology through long-term ecosystem protection, and economically empowering cocoa farmers to become resilient,” says Mr. Glover.

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Cocoa is the third-largest export commodity of the country, a good source of revenue for many small-scale farmers, and employs more than 800,000 smallholder farmers. Ghana is the second-largest exporter of cocoa after Cote d'Ivoire. The world demand for organic cocoa far outstrips production and supply, and the global projections of the market trends put Ghana on a strong foothold with the potential to transform the cocoa sector into an organic cocoa hub in the sub-region. There is a rapid rise in the consumption of organic cocoa, and the rich in the West are ready to pay more for healthy food. It will make Ghana a strong competitor to exploit the global organic cocoa market. Time is ripe for the country to earn considerable foreign exchange from the high premium offered for organic cocoa.

The increasing demand for organic cocoa from health-conscious cocoa consumers in Europe and America makes a case to produce organic cocoa according to the specifications of chocolate producers. Market watchers say we are in a consumers' market as there is an increasing demand for health-foods free from chemical residue. Mr. Glover says: “We are implementing a Market-Oriented Agricultural Advisory Services (MOAAS) to meet the high organic standards set by international regulators and to satisfy demands by the global organic cocoa market. “After launching our organic cocoa program in Suhum in 2007, the first of its kind in West Africa, we have created economic opportunities for over 5000 enrolled organic cocoa farmers in our operational areas of major cocoa-growing regions of Ghana. Our organic cocoa project is making gains and gradually changing the cocoa production landscape of Ghana.

“When we started our organic cocoa program, some key players in the cocoa sector who did not understand the fundamental principles of organic cocoa production were skeptical about the success of the project, and we proved them wrong. “Gains in the production of cocoa in the past was largely attributed to farm expansions with declining yield and consequential depletion of large tracks of our forests which was accelerating climate change. “We saw the looming ecological disaster for the cocoa industry in Ghana and we have the conviction that one way to reverse climate change and to secure the future for our cocoa farmers is to introduce the production of organic cocoa.

“After putting our expertise and limited resources to work, we have a proof of concept that confirms that our climate-resilient and eco-friendly organic cocoa production system has impacted the lives of hundreds of organic cocoa farmers enrolled for the project. “There is ample evidence of the dividends derived from the economic, ecological, and social impacts of our organic cocoa program, which is revolutionizing cocoa production in the country. “A unique aspect of our organic cocoa production program is the integration of the cultivation of organic Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in our farming system. The organic NTFPs include native spices, essential oil-yielding exotic plants, and fruits that are produced by our organic cocoa farmers. “A subsidiary of our company, Yayra Glover Foods & Beverages Ltd (YGF&B) buys and processes the organic non-traditional farm produce at the company's Circular Agro-Industrial Park at Suhum for export.

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Economic Impact
  • Creation of sustainable jobs
  • Access to large market for organic cocoa abroad
  • Access to credit with flexible terms for organic cocoa farmers
  • Alleviates poverty in deprived cocoa communities
  • Foster growth and prosperity
  • Sustainable income from Non-Timber Forest Products (NFTPs)
  • Alternative livelihood for organic cocoa farmers
  • Production of high-quality organic produce
  • Increased yield per hectare and enhanced income
  • Highest premium for organic cocoa
  • Direct delivery of organic inputs at a cheaper cost to farmers
  • Organic farmer co-operatives arrange reasonable credit facilities for members
  • Economic empowerment of organic cocoa farmers
  • Organic cocoa farmers join co-operatives to share resources
    Ecological Impact
    • Implementation of climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture
    • Economic use of farmland without damage to the ecology and people
    • Protection of forests, plants, and animal species
    • Protection of health of farming communities
    • Prohibition of the use of dangerous and unapproved agro-chemicals that damage the environment
    • Organic cocoa farming practices rejuvenates and improves soil structure and fertility
    • Organic practices reverse climate change and saves the planet
    • Organic cocoa farmers understand the effects of climate change and the need to grow climate-smart crops
    Social Impact
    • Cocoa farmer co-operatives have bargaining power
    • Organic cocoa farmers share experiences to solve problems
    • Organic cocoa farmers take control of their future
    • Farmers consider cocoa production as a business venture
    • Eradication of child labor in the cocoa sector
    • Farmers use the extra income to educate their children
    • Yayra Glover Foundation (YGF) initiate education programs on women health
    • YGF is supporting the education of selected less privileged students from farming communities