Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, Nov. 30, GNA - Cocoa Life, a Mondelez International programme in Ghana aimed at improving the wellbeing of people, has organised the first women’s summit in Accra to empower women in agriculture, especially those in cocoa farming, to improve yield.
The summit, on the theme: “Women Empowerment 2.0”, forms part of the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Cocoa Life.
It aims at enlightening women in cocoa farming to adopt the right and productive skills, knowledge and tools in the execution of their duties and provide a platform for their concerns to be heard worldwide.
The Summit was attended by cocoa farmers from all the 10 regions of Ghana and advocates for the development of Women in Agriculture.
Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, the Country Director and Lead of the Cocoa Life Programme, said it was important to reduce the stress farmers went through, usually within five to seven years, just to harvest their first cocoa pods.
She, therefore, said Cocoa Life organised occasional training programmes for farmers to equip them with the right skills for sustainable cocoa production.
She said the programme searched for seedlings that could produce cocoa pods for farmers within 18 months to three years.
“Beans of cocoa farmers are sold only twice a year, so in the other months, what should the cocoa farmer do? In the past, in many villages, farmers were engaging in basket weaving and making of ceramics on their off seasons but now we realised they have all been taken over by entrepreneurs,” she said.
Mrs Amekudzi said it was, therefore, necessary for farmers to have additional sources of income through focused livelihood empowerment activities.
She said Cocoa Life had initiated skills training sessions for farmers as well as capital to set up enterprises in soap, beads making and bakery among other things to support their families.
“We also ensure that they grow food crops, because if you use your farm for only cocoa, how do you find food to eat?” she asked.
Mrs Amekudzi noted that Cocoa Life was also interested in community development to make farmers happy living in their communities by initiating infrastructural projects like schools, health facilities, good roads, electricity and provision of potable water.
She said Cocoa Life was committed to ensuring that farmers properly conserved the environment, especially the forest, as it affected climate change, which had consequences on the proper growth of cocoa.
Mrs Cathy Pieters, the Global Director of Cocoa Life, said women empowerment was a smart thing to do since women were in the majority globally.
“If we empower women and develop them in farm inputs, skills and technology, then the general agriculture sector and the economy will develop,” she said.
“If you express your opinion as a woman and take bold decisions and someone tells you, you are bossy, just tell the person that, that is your leadership skills”.
Mondelez International is an American multinational confectionery, food, and beverage production company based in Illinois and has employed more than 83,000 people around the world.
Among its products are Cadbury chocolates, trident chewing gum, and Belvita.