LITITZ, Pennsylvania, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Financial and technical support from Cargill will provide 6,000 more Ghanaian cocoa farmers and community members with access to CocoaLink, a program which uses mobile phone voice and SMS text messages to connect cocoa farmers with information about good farming practices, labor safety, and crop marketing.
CocoaLink was established in 2011 by the Ghana Cocoa Board, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), and the Hershey Company.
Generating success for 16,000 smallholders
CocoaLink has proven to be an effective tool to spread knowledge and share good practices to help farmers increase yields and market their products better so they can increase their incomes. It has reached 16,289 farmers in the past two years and its goal is to reach 100,000 farmers by the end of 2013.
Over the next several months, Cargill will implement the rollout of CocoaLink to 6,000 farmers who participate in Cargill's Farmer Field Schools in Ghana. CocoaLink will reinforce what farmers have learned during training, increasing its effectiveness, bringing even greater benefits to farmers. WCF trainers will conduct training classes on the technology, with the Ghana Cocoa Board providing the information that is shared with farmers.
CocoaLink is supported by Cargill in Ghana as part of its dedication to sustainable cocoa through the Cargill Cocoa Promise - the company's commitment to make a difference to the lives of farmers and their communities, while meeting the growing global demand for sustainable cocoa beans.
How CocoaLink has benefitted farmer Peter Tawiah
The power of CocoaLink can be demonstrated in the story of a smallholder in the village of Nknonya, Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana. Peter Tawiah, a cocoa farmer, considered cocoa farming as a tradition passed on to him by his father. In 2011, CocoaLink selected Peter to be community facilitator (lead farmer) in his community because of his good reputation among community members and his demonstrated motivation and engagement.
Prior to participation in Cocoalink, Peter planted his cocoa trees in a haphazard manner, crowding plants so close together that there was insufficient aeration between the trees, leading to the spread of disease on his farm. Through CocoaLink, he received advice about pruning and began applying those techniques to his work. Now, Peter lines and pegs his farm so his trees have adequate space between them for healthy growth, and he prunes them regularly. This has helped him increase the size of his cocoa pods and prevent disease from spreading. Peter also brings other farmers from his community to his farm to demonstrate how pruning and lining and pegging should be done, further extending the impact of CocoaLink.
Cargill Cocoa Promise
Cargill's commitment to CocoaLink is part of its Cocoa Promise, a commitment by the company made in 2012 to continue to partner with local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), customers and farmer organizations to make a difference in the lives of farmers and their communities and to create value for our customers and our business by securing better quality cocoa. Cargill continues to invest and provide financing, training and support to maintain and strengthen a sustainable cocoa supply chain in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil. Cargill is on target to source over 100,000 tonnes of certified sustainable cocoa beans from Côte d'Ivoire by 2015 - making its program the largest of its kind in the country.
To date, Cargill's activities and achievements to support sustainable cocoa production include:
- More than 1,100 farmer field schools teaching 60,000 Ivorian farmers and helping cooperatives to achieve UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification
- More than 26,500 Ivorian farmers across 43 UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certified cooperatives receiving sustainable cocoa premiums payments totaling U.S. $7.6 million in 2011/12
- Training 15,000 farmers in Ghana to improve farming practices
- A partnership with CARE that is improving access to education and healthcare among 130 rural cocoa-producing districts in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana
- Training 1,000 Indonesian farmers to achieve UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification
- More than 100 cocoa demonstration farms in Vietnam showcasing sustainable farming practices
- Helping regenerate and develop cocoa growing regions in Brazil through farmer training and seed distribution
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 142,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit Cargill.com and its news center.
Contact: Courtney LeDrew, +1-717-626-3478, email@example.com