Some one hundred Ghanaian communities have so far been hooked onto the multi-million pound worth Cadbury Cocoa Partnership launched in January 2008, according to Mr. Todd Stitzer, Chief Executive Officer of Cadbury Plc.
Cocoa growing communities, mostly in the Eastern, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo, have been lined up for Cadbury’s 10-year investment package designed to secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of cocoa farmers and the communities in which they live and work.
In commemoration of the company’s 100th year of cocoa trading in Ghana, Cadbury Plc, a global leader in confectioneries, in January last year, announced the 10-year-long Cadbury Cocoa Partnership (CCP) worth £30 million aimed at improving cocoa farmer incomes, introducing new sources of rural income for farmers, investing in community-led development and developing a grassroots partnerships for rural development.
The local management of the CCP investment is vested in a Ghana Board of stakeholders comprising government representatives, private sector representatives, farmers’ representatives and some development specialists from the non-governmental sector.
Company sources indicate that in the course of one year, the partnership has already realized the targeted construction of 365 fresh water wells for cocoa communities in the Western, Central, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions, initiated biodiversity programmes and is promoting farmer education through an illustrative newspaper on best farm practices.
“This Partnership is in its early days but with the help of the President (of Ghana), and (non governmental) organizations like CARE, VSO and World Vision, I’m confident that our work will help secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of thousands of Ghanaian cocoa farmers, “ Mr.Stitzer told journalists after conferring with President John Evans Atta Mills at the Castle Osu.
“I am delighted to be here personally to witness at first hand, the progress made by the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership in its first year and it is particularly timely that we’re also here 100 years after Cadbury bought its first cocoa harvest from Ghana,” he said.
Cadbury purchased its very first consignment of cocoa beans from the Gold Coast 100 years ago, following contact with cocoa farmers in 1908.
Today, the company uses about 75% of Ghana’s globally acclaimed premium beans for most of its frontline brands, but has become increasingly concerned about the future of the produce and the capacity of domestic industries to support cocoa farmers and remain sustainable and viable sectors of their local economies.
“Whiles Ghana’s cocoa still enjoys premium status as a result of its consistently high quality, the cocoa industry is facing increasing challenges ranging from the threat of crop diseases to the problem of attracting the next generation of farmers’, an official statement on the partnership circulated by Cadbury stated.
Among other objectives, Cadbury’s Cocoa Partnership focuses on improving cocoa farmer incomes by helping farmers to increase farm yield and produce top quality beans, introducing new sources of rural income through microfinance and business support, investing in community-led living by supporting education, biodiversity projects, and access to basic amenities like clean potable water.
By 2018, Cadbury estimates that it would have made ‘a demonstrable difference’ to the lives of about half a million Ghanaian farmers using this innovative model of investing in self-driven sustainable growth.