THE Cocoa Livelihood Programme (CLP), an initiative of the private sector to increase productivity among cocoa farmers, has been launched in the Ashanti Region with the initial selection of three districts as beneficiaries.
The districts are Atwima Mponua, Atwima Nwabiagya and Amansie West.
The CLP is a programme being organised by the World Cocoa Foundation and a number of organisations to improve the living standards of the cocoa farmer.
It is to be carried out in five West African countries, which are Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroun, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.
The CLP has targeted to reach 200,000 cocoa farming households with the objective of increasing farmer income.
Within Ghana, the programme will be implemented by four partners, namely TechnoServe, the German Technical Service (GTZ), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture/Sustainable Tree Crop Programme IITA/STCP and the Agricultural Co-operatives Development International/Overseas Co-operatives Assistance (ACDI/OCA).
It will be undertaken in 21 districts in cocoa-growing areas in Ghana.
Among the activities planned under the programme to sustainably increase farmer incomes in Ghana are training, providing farmers access to capital and the creation of business service.
As part of the launch, about 200 farmers from the beneficiary districts in Ashanti were trained on the input and credit component of the programme.
At the launch, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu, said it was reassuring that the programme sought to improve productivity among farmers.
“This, undoubtedly, will impact positively on the living conditions of farmers,” he said.
He commended the private sector for its continued assistance to the development of the cocoa sector, noting that the government’s objective of working towards a national cocoa output of one million tonnes annually would be achieved when the private sector fully participated in all aspects of the development of the cocoa sector.
The regional minister called on the organisers of the programme to avoid tendencies that would impede the smooth operation of the scheme.
In his remarks, the Deputy Country Director of TechnoServe, Mr Baba Adongo, said in Ghana, Technoserve was working to develop financial products and auxiliary services for farmers.
Technoserve, he said, had developed, in conjunction with Callighana and Opportunity International, an input training and credit programme which would provide farmers inputs on credit and technical and business training.
“Input credit is the most immediate capital need for small cocoa farmers. In addition, its shorter duration allows farmers the opportunity to learn about credit and, more important, build a credit history. By building a credit history, it will help them in accessing additional financial products, “ he said.
Mr Adongo stated that input credit would also provide farmers with significant productivity increases after the first year.
“Initial success will hopefully build excitement to continue to improve cocoa farms through activities such as farm rehabilitation, expansion and diversification,” he stressed.