The introduction of additional livelihood to women cocoa farmers in parts of Ashanti and Bono regions has come as a relief to them in the face of devastating impact of climate change to farming activities.
The opportunities in soap making, snail farming, and vegetable farming were created for the women to spur the development of commercial activities around post-harvest practice.
As a seasonal crop, most women cocoa farmers find it difficult to access finances for their upkeep and that of their family months after the cocoa is harvested.
These women contribute half of the labor associated with the production of the commodity yet they control paltry incomes from the trade.
Under the second phase of the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP II), implemented by Solidaridad, women cocoa farmers were provided with the opportunity to earn additional incomes to improve their livelihoods.
“When the harvesting period is over, we focus on soap making. We now see money every day. We no more have to wait for the cocoa season before getting money to cater for our needs”, Agnes Pokuaa from Odumasi in the Bono region stated.
“Our yields keep declining due to climate change so we don’t get enough money from the cocoa these days. Embracing cabbage, pepper, and garden eggs farming to supplement our income from the cocoa has been helpful”, a farmer from Aponaponso in the Ashanti region, Ama Dwebi noted.
The Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Jeroen Verheul was impressed with the initiative after interacting with some of the beneficiary farmers.
The visit was to enable the diplomat acquaint himself with the prospects and challenges in the cocoa sector and ways to further improve it.
He met with members of the Kookoopa Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) group before visiting some cocoa farms and vegetable farms serving as additional livelihood for the farmers. The group, comprising of cocoa farmers contribute and assist members with loans to improve on their businesses.
Ambassador Verheul also engaged the Bono Women’s Cooperative Cocoa Farming and Marketing Central Union Limited, a farmers’ organization with the sole aim of strengthening and promoting women’s entrepreneurial ideas socially and financially through additional livelihood programmes for both on-and off-farm activities to improve their living standards.
The Dutch Ambassador later visit the regional office of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of the Ghana Cocoa Board in Bono to discuss the inclusion of women in the sector.
Solidaridad has collaborated with the Community Extension Agents of CHED to train an estimated 25,000 cocoa farmers in the Bono and Ahafo regions on climate-smart cocoa production.
By Ibrahim Abubakar|3news.com|Ghana