This training was organized by the Cocoa Sustainability Initiatives and Inputs and Certification Unit (ICU) of the Produce Buying Company Ltd (PBC). It was held in Essiama in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region. Farmers were taught on good post-harvest practices like forest protection and restoration. This, in turn, has benefits to the cocoa farmers. Besides helping them produce cocoa sustainably, the training will ensure that they obtain higher cocoa yield per unit area. Consequently, their income will increase therefore improving their livelihood. The training is key in teaching the farmers on the importance of protecting the environment. Embracing farming activities that favor climate change can never be compromised in cocoa farming. Cocoa farmers in Ghana trained in post-harvest practices are now experts.
About the Produce Buying Company Limited (PBC)
Despite going through some financial crisis for 5 years, PBC has confirmed that it has not collapsed. This message was given by its deputy CEO Mr. Alfred Ofori Annye. However, the government of Ghana has provided a financial bailout for PBC. This money will be used to take care of operations in the month of October. He added, “Documentations are ongoing in anticipation of the government’s financial support in the first week of October 2019.” He also assured them that PBC “is going to buy their cocoa this October.
“The President has come to the rescue of PBC with a bailout and we are back. Farmers should not lose confidence in us; people will come and say we have collapsed and so give us your coco to buy. They should not lose hope. We are going together with our farmers,” he said.
Farmers benefit in the program
The training, according to him, was an ongoing process, not a destination. It was targeted to cocoa farmers throughout Ghana. As a result, their livelihood will change for the better due to increased production. On top of that, it will help protect forests and reclaim abandoned farming lands. In this regard, the PBC organized such a training program at Konongo in the Ashanti Region. This benefited approximately 4,000 cocoa farmers. Therefore, cocoa farmers trained on post-harvest practices, support the environment a great deal.
Mr. Annye noted that yields in the Western and the Western North regions had dropped. Therefore, farmers needed to get rid of ill-health cocoa trees. They would then plant new ones with new technologies to increase the yields. Surprisingly, the poor health of the cocoa trees and pods diseases contributed to the reduction of the yields. As a matter of fact, the yields had dropped from 16 to 20 bags per acre to 3 bags per acre. Notable differences like this would only be bridged by exposing the cocoa farmers to training. Cocoa farmers trained on post-harvest practices will apply the knowledge instilled in them.
The Bottom Line
When farmers are trained on post-harvest practices, they become aware of cocoa plant management. Since the training focuses on handling cocoa beans carefully after harvest, the farmers are enlightened. Following excellent handing, cocoa beans give quality flavor. Therefore, the government can proudly say that the cocoa farmers trained on post-harvest practices are an asset to the agriculture sector of Ghana. To back the benefit of the training, a Ghanaian cocoa farmer, Simon Marton, won an award of the International Cocoa of Excellence Award. He had participated in flavor quality training before the competition. Martin took the award home together with the other 18 winners at ‘Salon du Chocolat’ in Paris.