Yaa Peprah Amekudzi and the beneficiaries in a group photograph.
Mondelez International, the world largest chocolate company, through its Cocoa Life Programme, has presented 177 female cocoa farmers groups in cocoa growing communities with farming equipment to empower them to improve their yields.
The female groups selected from 446 cocoa growing communities in Ananse West, Asunafo North, Ahafo Ano North, Bia West, Sekeyer East and Juabeso Districts each received two mechanized pruners, two manual pruners as back-up and two motorized sprayers to make them more efficient in their farming activities.
The groups also received other accessories like Wellington boots, nose masks, protective goggles, gloves and helmets for their farming activities in addition to an earlier training on best modern cocoa farming practices.
The cocoa farmer co-operatives that work with the female groups in the districts also received manual pruners and sprayers.
Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Country Lead, Mondelez International Cocoa Life, presenting the items to the women groups, said the cocoa life initiative seeks to augment national agricultural programmes, particularly cocoa cultivation, to increase cocoa production and empower women in the agricultural sector.
She said Ghanaian women play an important role in cocoa cultivating, adding that most of their tasks ensures the quality of the cocoa beans.
“The work on the farm is often substantial and research indicates that more than 70% of the tasks that yield cocoa beans are undertaken by women,” she added.
She indicated that the role women play in cocoa cultivating makes it imperative that conscious interventions are implemented to empower women in cocoa.
Explaining the relevance of the equipment to the work of the women farmers, Mrs. Amekudzi noted that harvesting and pruning have been identified by an exhaustive participatory research with female cocoa farmers as the two most burdensome activities in cultivation of cocoa.
She added that female cocoa farmers are virtually forced to hire labour with their meager resources for the two activities to be undertaken on their farms.
Mrs. Amekudzi was hopeful the presentation would assist female farmers to prune their farms with little or no help and foster the significant progress being made by Cocoa Life Program, especially in the lives of women and cocoa communities.
“We celebrate them and we look forward to greater parity in an environment devoid of conscious and unconscious biases against women,” she added.
Grace Ameyah from the Joaboso District, on behalf of the women, expressed their appreciation to Mondelez for the training they have been received in cocoa cultivating and now the equipment to help them prune and harvest their cocoa more easily.
“We had been taught how to work on our farms but we did not have the equipment but with these equipment we can now practice what we have learnt,” she said.
The donation, which cost GH¢2,336,544, is the first of a three-phase programme rolled out to support women to do more proficient cocoa farming.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri