Cocoa Abrabopa Association (CAA), a farmer-based organisation, has paid GH¢9.2 million in premium to its farmers across the cocoa growing regions in the country.
The cash premium, also known as the Sustainability Differential, formed part of activities under the Rainforest Alliance Certification Programme.
The Sustainability Differential is an additional mandatory cash earned by farmers on their produce for the 2022/2023 crop season to motivate them to adhere to sustainable farming practices and to improve their living conditions.
In all, about 8,000 cocoa farmers from the association’s 39 cocoa operational areas benefited from the programme.
Each farmer was paid an additional GH¢52.50 per bag of certified cocoa sold to the association.
All the beneficiary farmers were paid via mobile money and did not have to travel to the association’s office in Kumasi.
As part of efforts to promote sustainable agriculture in all its operational areas, Abrabopa deployed several initiatives to help farmers to increase their yields, promote environmental sustainability, as well as to get rid of child labour and other negative farming practices as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility to the sector.
Addressing a durbar of stakeholders at Anyinam in the Eastern Region, the Regional Manager of CAA, Ebenezer Agbozo, said the sustainability programme had since its inception supported several developmental projects in the areas of education, water and sanitation in the 39 cocoa operational areas across the cocoa regions in the country.
“We at Abrabopa have also embarked on other sustainability programmes such as afforestation, accessible soil and Sustainable Environment Project, Child Labour Monitoring Projects and Living Income Projects,” he said.
“Women participation in our programmes in the Eastern Region has also grown to about 30 per cent in the last three years, an increase we see as encouraging,” he said.
The Council Chairman for CAA, Ismaila Pomasi, said Abrabopa and its partners invested millions of cedis into the Sustainability Programme through the provision of infrastructural facilities and cash premiums.
He said the 2023 regional durbars were unique as they were organised at the operational areas to provide opportunity for a significant number of farmers to participate.
“The significance of the durbar is to provide a platform for farmers, the council and management to fraternise and share ideas on the strategic policies and programmes outlined to propel the association’s growth and development.
The Ag. Executive Secretary and Chief Finance and Operations Manager for CAA, Patrick John Van Brakel, said this year’s durbars also served as an opportunity for members to verify the total volumes of certified beans delivered to the association and to sign their premium letters thereof.
“We need good quality cocoa beans this year and our target is 16,000 tonnes for the 23/24 crop season.
Every one of you must work hard for us to achieve this together and also remember to record every delivery in your passbook” he said.
For his part, the Operations Manager for CAA, Roland Obosu, asked the farmers to let the increase in premium payment motivate them to produce quality cocoa that would meet the standards, help increase local sourcing and contribute to the local economy.
“The increase in premium payment for you, our farmers, is part of the association’s commitment towards developing thriving and resilient communities within our 39 operational areas” he said.