Swiss funded project to see Ghana cultivate 17,000 hectares of organic cocoa for world market.
Ghana will soon cultivate almost 17,000 hectares of organic cocoa for the world market with the help of a project supported by the Swiss government through private cocoa companies.
A Ghanaian company, Yayra Glover Limited with Swiss chocolate partners – Pakka AG and Max Felchlin AG started an organic cocoa production project in 2007 in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar District of the Eastern Region.
The project was formally launched as the “Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Project” in Accra November 10, 2011 and it is expected to boost organic cocoa production in Ghana. Officials at the Switzerland Embassy say “it will benefit over 7,000 Ghanaian farming households – cultivating almost 17,000 hectares of cocoa plantations within an agro-forest system.”
Brigitte Cuendet, Head of Economic Section and Development Cooperation at the Embassy said the project approaches cocoa farming as an opportunity for profitable business for small scale farmers by providing training and advice to foster entrepreneurship and build family farms as small commercial enterprises.
“Since 2010, Switzerland through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has been supporting the project…in order to allow a significant up-scaling of produced volumes and enlarge the operations also to the ecologically valuable Volta Region,” She said.
Launch of the Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Project
With the introduction of best practices in cocoa production to livelihoods, partners of the project (Yayra Glover Limited, Pakka AG and Max Felchlin AG) say the project is now extending from the Eastern Region where most of the farms are over-aged to the Volta Region to cultivate new cocoa farms.
Industry players say the world market for organic cocoa is a small one but demand for the raw beans are very high.
According to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) – a global organization, composed of both cocoa producing and cocoa consuming countries, the global market for organic cocoa is less than 0.5% but demand is increasing as more chocolate consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about food safety and the environment.
“The world market for organic cocoa is very small and the demand is increasing but not at the rate we have it now,” Dr. Yaw-Adu Ampomah, Deputy CEO of Ghana COCOBOD told ghanabusinessnews.com in an exclusive interview after he officially launched the project.
Dr. Ampomah, who has also played a key role in the success of the organic crop since his days at the Cocoa Research Institute, said Ghana should position itself well “so that when the demand is growing, we have the capacity to supply – the demand will control the production price.”
Organic cocoa is produced without chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified items.
According to the partners, fair trade for the crop goes further by adopting fair trade standards and certification of organic cocoa production. “This involves paying living wages and improving farm practices and livelihood of cocoa farmers,” they stated.