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Voice of Cocoa

Solidaridad, Cooperatives Dept. to Empower Ghana cocoa farmers

Solidaridad, an international civil society organisation, has partnered with the Department of Co-operatives (DoC) in Ghana to facilitate the establishment of a robust regional and national cooperative association to increase the participation of cocoa farmers in decision-making.

The partnership to empower Ghana cocoa farmers was formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony on 24 January 2024, in Accra.

Cocoa farmer cooperatives in Ghana face significant challenges due to the absence of a legally recognised, national unified front.

This lack of representation often leads to formulating policies that do not align with farmers’ needs, hindering sustainable cocoa production efforts.

Key roles of both parties under the new partnership

Under the partnership, Solidaridad will enhance the capacity of cooperatives and associations on cocoa sector policies, as well as support the implementation of advocacy actions and the development of advocacy campaigns.

The Country Representative for Solidaridad in Ghana, Bossman Owusu, said, “We are dedicated to supporting the capacity agenda to enable farmers to participate in decision-making processes actively.”

He emphasised the organization’s commitment to empowering farmers.

The Department of Co-operatives, on the other hand, will ensure the registration and regulation of the cocoa cooperative association, provide training in policies and governance, and maintain a database for registered cooperative unions.

The Acting Registrar for the Department of Co-operatives, Kwabena Apraku Yeboah, expressed gratitude for Solidaridad’s support and affirmed the department’s dedication to strengthening cocoa cooperatives in Ghana through effective collaboration.

Mobilising for change

The partnership is under Solidaridad’s RECLAIM Sustainability! programme and forms part of efforts to strengthen civil society organisations, workers, and cooperatives to dialogue with public and private decision-makers and monitor implementations of mechanisms that ensure gender and social inclusion in the value chain.

Over the past two years, the programme has been actively working to enhance the capacity of cocoa cooperative unions on sector regulations.

So far, 83 cocoa cooperative unions have been mobilised and strengthened for the formation of a national cooperative association. The co-operatives have also been enabled to actively engage in advocating for their interests.

A former president of the Fanteakwa Co-operative Union, Humphrey Ayisi, shared how Solidaridad’s support has been instrumental in developing cooperatives.

“Our engagements with Solidaridad have brought about a significant improvement in our operations as a cooperative. Last year, with support from Solidaridad, the Fanteakwa Co-operative Union, together with other cocoa farmers’ cooperative unions in the Eastern Region of Ghana, successfully submitted a petition to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and relevant government institutions to put an end to surface mining in the region,” he said.

Also present at the ceremony were representatives from Suhum KCC Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Sefwi Bekwai Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Baakoye Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Fanteakwa Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Union, and the World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO).

Kojo Hayford
Source Cocoa Post
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