Ghana announces GH¢ 4 million as Premium for Cocoa Farmers

Accra, Aug. 14, GNA
– Olam Ghana, a leading supply chain manager of agri-products and one of
Ghana’s biggest cocoa buying agencies, has announced the payment of GH¢ 4
million in premiums to cocoa farmers for the 2015/2016 season.

The amount
represents a 100 per cent increase over the total premium of GH¢ 1.9 million
paid to farmers last year.

The announcement was
made at a cocoa farmers’ durbar at Mumuni, near Samreboi in the Amenfi West
District of the Western Region, which attracted more than 1,000 cocoa farmers
from all the cocoa growing regions in the country.

This season’s
premiums are distributed to some 12,000 farmers across the country, each of
whom would receive GH¢15 as bonus on each bag of cocoa sold to the company.

The premiums,
popularly known as bonuses, are paid to deserving farmers for selling certified
cocoa beans to the company, based on premium grading by cocoa buyers on the
international market.

General Manager of
Olam’s Cocoa Licensed Buying Company (LBC) business, Mr Eric Asare Botwe who
announced the season’s premium payment, commended the farmers for their hard
work during the season and urged them to continue to focus on improving not
just the quantity but also the quality of the cocoa they produce.

Mr Botwe said Olam
is committed to put in place the right measures to ensure an increase in
production of premium cocoa, whilst it works to improve the quality of life of
all farmers within Olam’s operational areas.

He disclosed that
this year, Olam has voted one million dollars (four million Cedis) as
interest-free loans to cocoa farmers to enable them to procure farm inputs and
other needs for their operations.

He described the
initiative as constituting an important aspect of Olam’s commitment to helping
improve the standard of living of farmers.

The occasion also
marked the launch of the Wassa Amenfi Educational Fund, providing GH¢ 40,000 as
seed capital to support the development of education in the area.

Under the Fund, Olam
Ghana would adopt a school in the Wassa Amenfi area and develop it into a model
school to meet the standards of schools in urban areas of the country.

Mr Botwe said a
needs assessment team is on the ground conducting feasibility studies for the
initiative.

He explained that
the goal of the company is to promote the well-being of farmers by working with
them to attain improved and sustainable livelihood for themselves, their
families and their communities at large, with education as one of the most
important components.

Sustainability
Manager for Olam Cocoa in Ghana, Mr Kennedy Ntoso, noted that, as a partner in
the production of cocoa, Olam would continue to share some of its earnings with
farmers within the company’s operational areas.

He urged farmers to
continue do business with the company in order to enjoy the rewards and
benefits derived from the Olam-farmer partnership.

Mr Ntoso said Olam
Cocoa would also be stepping up its farmer training programmes in good farm
practices with a view to increase farm yields and improve the overall incomes
of farmers.

The Omanhene of
Wassa Amenfi, Tetrete Okuamoah Sekyim II, was full of praise for Olam Ghana for
the support the company has consistently given to farmers in the area.

The Chief,
nonetheless, appealed for more support from Olam “to boost the morale of
farmers” in his traditional area to produce more cocoa “for the good of their
families, their communities and for the nation”.

Nana Sekyim assured
Olam of the traditional authority’s support for its operations and programmes
of social interventions aimed at bringing development to the Wassa Amenfi
Traditional Area.

The Deputy Chief
Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board in charge of Quality Control, Mr T K
Osei, commended Olam Ghana for the immense role it is playing in the
development of the country’s cocoa sector.

He charged the
various LBCs to strive to educate farmers to practice sustainable cocoa
production in order to improve yield and also receive higher premium for their
produce on the international market.

The occasion was
used to inaugurate a $ 150,000 warehouse at Mumuni, which offers the community
a new production storage capacity of 560 metric tons.

The warehouse is
equipped with offices, stores, mechanised water system and a modern place of
convenience.

It is expected to
ease the burden of farmers who previously have had to travel long distances to
reach a cocoa depot.

Last year’s results
of the acclaimed Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC) released by the agri-business
giant indicate that Olam Ghana made available to Ghanaian farmers a total of $
22 million in interest-free, short-term funding for farming operations and related
activities.

The OLC, a global
initiative, which aims at bringing prosperity to farming and rural communities,
supports a total of 31,722 Ghanaian farmers in the cocoa and cashew sectors.

GNA

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