Ghana is on course to achieve the 2015 cocoa production certification standards stipulated by the World Cocoa Foundation, Noah Amenyah, Public Relations Manager of Cocobod, has told the B&FT.

?Certification issues will not be a problem for country?s cocoa sector, by the stipulated year, all our cocoa will be certified,? he said.

Business24

Cocoa buyers and consumers of chocolate around the world are increasingly demanding traceable cocoa that is certified as grown in a sustainable manner.

As a result, a lot of cocoa producing countries are grabbing the opportunities therein.

Cocoa certification demands that cocoa farmer?s social, environmental and economic activities fall in line with best labour practices, in exchange for receiving a premium price on the produce.

The standards will also push farmers to develop better drying and fermentation practices.

Mr. Amenyah disclosed that a number of organizations, including Fairtrade and the German Development Co-operation (GTZ) are working with Cocobod to effectively train farmers to meet the certification standards.

?The cocoa Livelihoods Programme, for example, is helping, is helping to bring about new technologies to help reduce the cost of farmer training and improve productivity and yields?.

The Kuapa Kokoo Farmers? Union has been urging Cocobod to take a critical look at cocoa certification directives as a key factor in modern cocoa production.

This year, Divine Chocolate Limited is contributing US$178,000 in Fairtrade cocoa purchased from Kuapa Kokoo, which owns a part of the UK-based chocolate maker.

Managing Director of Divine Chocolate, Sophi Tranchell, said: ?the certification is very useful for consumers in places like England and America to know that beans have been checked?.

Cocoa certification consultant, Rita Owusu Amankwah, said the country stands to benefit from the cocoa certification process, as the global chocolate and cocoa industry rapidly moves towards certified and sustainable cocoa marketing.

She observed however that challenges, like increase labour cost and untimely supply of farm inputs, could be discouraging for farmers who want to join certification programmes.

Nevertheless, she said cocoa farmers would be better off in the long run, as findings from a research conducted in cocoa-growing communities in Ashanti and Western regions have shown.

?the certified farmers that I talked to, within a period of one and half year, most of them have increased their yield by 10-55% after adopting good agricultural practices, integrated pest and crop management, and adhering to other environmentally-friendly standards,? she revealed.

Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation, said his organization is empowering communities by training farmers, enhancing education, investing in families, and improving community health and welfare.

?We were formed in 2000 to help improve cocoa sustainability in all three cocoa regions of the world; but because of the importance of West Africa a lot of our programmes focus on that region. We?re currently working on three major regional programme.

?The first one is called the Cocoa Livelihoods Programme, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and 16 of our company members as well as the German Development Agency.

?The programme aims to reach over 200,000 cocoa farmers over the next few years with the intent of doubling incomes. So it?s also making some very good progress,? he said.

Nigeria Cote d?Ivorie, Ghana and Cameroon together produce 70 per cent of the World?s cocoa, generation about $13 billion annually, while the end-product of cocoa, chocolate, has a turnover of US$105 billion.

BFT

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