The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has signed an agreement with the Federated Commodities Ltd (FEDCO), a licensed buying company and its overseas partners, Noble Resources, SA from Switzerland, for the purchase of traceable and certified cocoa beans in Ghana.
According to the agreement, FEDCO will purchase traceable and UTZ certified cocoa beans from farmer cooperatives, deliver the beans to the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), which will then ship the produce to Noble Resources, the buyers.
Cited in the agreement are modalities for the sharing of the premium on the traceable cocoa and the creation of a Traceable Foundation Fund, where the premium received from the overseas buyers will be lodged and utilised to provide health facilities, potable water, education and other social amenities for the communities involved.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Mr Tony Fofie, lauded FEDCO for the gesture and called on all stakeholders in the cocoa industry to embrace strategies that would help improve the incomes and livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
Cocoa traceability involves investigating the origin of cocoa beans to ensure that they are legitimately sourced while cocoa certification demands that a farmer’s social, environmental and economic activities are in line with best labour practices; in exchange for a premium price on the produce.
For the successful implementation of the UTZ certification project, all the partners - Noble Resources, FEDCO and West Africa Fair Fruits (WAFF)) - should collaborate to train farmers in good agronomic practices, integrated pest and crop management and adhere to other environmentally friendly standards to increase their yield.
Currently, the FEDCO has put in place an implementation programme in the cocoa growing communities in the Ahafo Ano North and South districts of Ashanti, in collaboration with the WAFF and Noble Resources.
Present at the signing ceremony were Nana Oduro Owusu, Managing Director, CMC, Mr Charles Amenyaglo, Senior Legal Manager, COCOBOD, Mr Abdul Razak Adamu, Managing Director, FEDCO, Mr Graham Laird of Noble Resources, Mr Charles E. Watson of Noble Resources and Mr Patrick Nyarko, Finance Manager, FEDCO.