Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in partnership with Fairtrade Africa has held a two-day training workshop for some staff of its Research Department on Fairtrade standards and sustainability.
The training workshop sought to enhance the capacity of the Cocobod Research team to monitor and evaluate sustainability programmes in the cocoa industry to ensure value for money for its major stakeholders, mainly cocoa farmers and the government.
Speaking at the opening of the training seminar, Mr Randolph Adei, the Director of Human Resource at COCOBOD indicated that training and moulding of the human resource of organizations are key as it shapes and prepares staff to be effective and make systems work effectively and efficiently.
Mr Abubakar Benjamin Afful, the Cocoa Programmes Team Leader together with Solomon McBanasam in charge of Protection and Advocacy from Fairtrade Africa facilitated the training.
The training highlighted the principles of Fairtrade including democracy, transparency, accountability, non-discrimination and participation, which must be adhered to by certified farmer cooperatives.
The facilitators explained the Fairtrade system as well as the benefits that come with it including the payment of additional Fairtrade Premiums for partner farmers who in turn dedicate some for developmental projects in their communities.
Fairtrade recognises issues of living income and wage as human rights issues that must be respected by stakeholders and actors of the various commodity value chains.
Mr Afful explained that Fairtrade certifies Cocoa Cooperatives and Farmer Associations rather than Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs).
This is because the ownership of the Fairtrade certificate should be held by the farmers to help deepen benefits to the farmers.
To ensure compliance, FLOCERT; an independent body within the Fairtrade system is solely mandated to audit producers according to Fairtrade Standards.
Some other topics treated include processes of Fairtrade certification, traceability, premium management, standards of social compliance, standards on internal management system and governance, and small producer organizations.
The training also focused on responsible use of agrochemicals, standards on the environment as well as climate change and biodiversity.
Mr Michael Ekow Amoah, a Research Manager at Cocobod, entreated the team to apply the skills and knowledge in their daily work.