Mr Georgios Badaro, Managing Director (MD), Nestlé Ghana Limited has said the company’s ambition of making cocoa more profitable for farmers, eliminating child labour, ensuring quality, and improving the transparency of its supply chain is on course.
That ambition under Nestlé Cocoa Plan (NCP), he explained is to meet the global targets including; climate action, decent work and economic growth, women empowerment, ensuring quality education, and building partnership under the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr Badaro, who spoke to journalists after paying a working visit to some farms at Ayisikrom, in the Suhum District of the Eastern Region, commended the farmers and said it is through their hard work and strong partnership with stakeholders that the NCP programme continues to chalk success.
The visit offered Mr Badaro the opportunity to discuss issues including traceability and alternative livelihood projects with farmers and purchasing clerk.
The NCP, introduced in Ghana in 2015, was being implemented in Ashanti, Ahafo, Central and Eastern Regions by ECOM Ghana and Beyond Beans, to promote good agricultural practices, support elimination of Child labour, using the child labour monitoring and remediation system, prevention of deforestation by cocoa farmers, tree tenure, payment of fair prices through premium and additional livelihood initiatives for farmers.
Mr. Badaro said the programme continued to improve the livelihoods of farmers and their families, enable Nestlé to achieve its aim of sourcing quality beans for production and contributing to nature preservation.
He stated that the programme is important for the company, consumers, farmers, and community and that it is inspiring to see the work done by the farmers on daily basis.
“It is a win-win situation we delight consumers because we know we offer excellent quality, we know that when the livelihood of the farmers and their communities are sustainable then they would continue and even expand over time to ensure quality supply,”
“I always knew it was hard work, but after this visit, I know now that it is not just about dedicating time but knowing what to do, how to cut, and where to cut, I am really inspired by what we are doing to help,” he said.
Mr Daniel Nyarko, Nestlé Cocoa Plan Manager for Ghana said NCP has been a response to the sustainability of cocoa and has operated under three pillars namely better farming, better lives, and better cocoa.
He noted that through NCP support cocoa yield per hector is increasing due to the improved farming practices adopted by farmers.
“With the support of our partners the NCP has six central nurseries and 30 community nurseries that raise multipurpose trees and cocoa seedlings, over two million cocoa plantlets and over 238,000 multi-purpose trees including; shade trees have been distributed to rejuvenate the farms and protect the plantlets,” he said.
Mr Nyarko said the programme is successful in organizing and sustaining Village Savings and Loans Associations to improve the saving culture and financial inclusion of farmers.
Ms. Deborah Kwablah, the Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Ghana said the programme was addressing the temptation of the farmers having to give out their cocoa farms for other undesirable activities.
She commended the farmers under the NCP for the diligence and the hard work they put into producing certified cocoa beans.
Ms. Ana Herrera, the Head of Investor Management, ECOM Ghana, and a member of the West Africa Sustainability Team said they would continue to offer best practices to farmers to boost yield and ensure quality.
Mr. Joseph Danso, a cocoa and cabbage farmer in the Suhum District commended the companies for their support, explaining that he has purchased a tricycle from the proceeds from the cabbage production since he was introduced to the cultivation of alternative crops and encourage other farmers to consider alternative crops to boost their income when cocoa is not in season.