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Voice of Cocoa

167 Ghana Cocoa Farmers Receive Fairtrade’s Living Income Premium

167 farmers in the Abakoase Society of Fanteakwa Union in the Eastern Region of Ghana have received Fairtrade’s Living Income Reference Price Differential for the 2020/2021 cocoa season at a ceremony organised by the leadership of the cooperative.

This was done as a result of a pilot for the Living Income and Tree Crops project implemented by Rewe Group, a German Retailer, together with Fairtrade and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The project is aimed at supporting farmers within the society to earn Living Income through the payment of high prices, diversification, farm record keeping and productivity enhancement. This approach clearly fits into Fairtrade’s Living Income strategy. Rewe Group willingly agreed to pay the Living Income Reference price ($2100/MT at farmgate) on top of the Fairtrade Premium of $240/MT to members of the Abakoase Society.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chain Initiative (INA) and its local partners offered farmer training to the Union.

The focus of the training is on more sustainable cultivation practices, more efficient farm management and improving the management of the cooperatives. Other crops such as cashew trees are also being promoted to provide alternative sources of income for farmers.

At the ceremony, each farmer received their cash payment according to the volumes supplied under the project. Present at the ceremony were the leadership of the Fanteakwa Union Cooperative, Fairtrade Germany, Fairtrade Africa, Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chain Initiative (INA), representatives from the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew), Cocoa Health and Extension Division of Ghana Cocoa Board, Cocoa Merchant Limited, and members of the Abakoase Cooperative Society.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Union President, Mr. Kwasi Kublenu, commended Fairtrade and the other project partners for the immense support they have provided farmers in the community throughout the years of the cooperative’s membership.

“Not only did Fairtrade provide us with technical expertise for sustainable cocoa production and business management, they also provided all the necessary support to the Union to secure our market in difficult times as we experienced last year with the onset of the pandemic and its impact on export and logistics.

Today, we are happy that our cocoa beans have been sold and farmers can earn a decent income”, he added.

He also took the opportunity to thank all partners especially Rewe Group and members of Abakoase Society for their commitment and called for continuous working relations to continue to improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers.

Speaking for Fairtrade Africa, Mr. Abubakar Afful, Programme Team Leader expressed appreciation to all partners especially the members of Abakoase for their support and commitment leading to the success of the project.

“Today we have all witnessed the result of the hard work we put in the project and I know this is the beginning of something big to come in coming years towards improving the livelihood of the farmers in the Union’’.

He encouraged all partners to work hard to continue to provide such innovative solutions to support the farmers. Comfort is a 65-year-old farmer with the union.

“I am very happy with Fairtrade for always living up to their promise and supporting us farmers. Through this revenue from the sale of my cocoa beans, I am going to take care of my 8 children and also invest in inputs for my 8-acre cocoa farm”.

Fairtrade is committed to farmer empowerment by advocating for living income for all farmers. In 2017 Fairtrade developed its Living Income Strategy and in 2020 it launched its first Living Income progress report.

Under its unique approach to sustainable certification, Fairtrade premiums go directly to farmers without any intermediary, in addition to the income received from the sales of the cocoa beans. In a democratic process, farmers and cooperatives decide on the usage of the premium.

In Fanteakwa, Fairtrade premiums have helped to build schools, set up alternative livelihood programmes and provided other support services to its members.

Fairtrade Africa’s 2021- 2025 strategy is committed to helping promote and develop markets for farmers to sell their produce in addition to promoting sustainable farming systems, advocacy and building strengthened and empowered producer organisations.

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