The Cocoa Abrabopa Association (CAA) has elected new Operational Area Representatives to steer the affairs of their operational areas for the next three years.
CAA has 39 cocoa operational areas across the five cocoa growing regions in Ghana namely the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Western South regions, and each area has one representative responsible for the overall functioning of cocoa farming processes.
This includes Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) and adherence to requirements for the Rainforest Alliance certification standards.
Speaking at the elections of these representatives at the Obuasi and Bekwai Area, the Acting Executive Secretary of CAA, Patrick Van Brakel, advised the newly elected representatives to discharge their duties diligently and efficiently to uplift the image of the association.
He asked them to be more innovative and to come out with programmes that would motivate members to be on top of their farming business.
“The Operational Area Representative is established to strengthen the voice of our farmers in the management of the Association,” he said.
The Council Chairman of CAA, Ismail Pomasi, said the establishment of Operational Area Representatives was to strengthen the voice of members at the grassroots and to support the efforts of the field staff in improving the livelihoods of members.
“We believe in the bottom-up approach in decision making, and having farmer representation at each operational level in decision making will enable the council and management to better appreciate the concerns and challenges of our members.
“Our Operational Area Representatives will be resourced with motorbikes, smartphones and PPEs to enable them to carry out their duties with great convenience,” he said.
The event which was attended by over 2,500 group executives and the new Operational Area Representatives was also used to train their Liaison Officers on the Assess and Address (A&A) tool introduced by Rainforest Alliance Ghana.
The Certification Manager of CAA, Abdul Rahman, said the Assess and Address (A&A) tool introduced by Rainforest Alliance Ghana was meant to ensure that certification was more context-specific and data-driven across CAA cocoa growing communities.
The A&A tool is a system designed to assess and address issues of child labour, forced labour, workplace violence and harassment, as well as discrimination within the cocoa sector.
“The tool is unique in that it is the first of its kind to be used by inspectors; it’s also the first time Rainforest Alliance is introducing such a tool to the certification bodies in Ghana,” he said
The newly elected Operational Area Representative for Obuasi and Bekwai, Azumah Jambil, on behalf of his colleagues, pledged to deliver on their mandate and come out with new and innovative programmes that would be beneficial to the members.
He called for support and cooperation from the members of the association for the OAR to enable them to deliver on their mandate.
The Operations Manager of CAA, Roland Obosu, said the association would continue to improve upon the knowledge base of its members on new agricultural technologies and techniques, stressing:
“We will ensure that members within the operational areas adhere to all Rainforest Alliance certification standards and requirements.”
The farmers expressed appreciation to Abrabopa for the innovations and interventions being introduced across all their cocoa operational areas.