NAIROBI, Kenya – Nine cocoa farming unions in Ghana have been awarded grants to invest in new climate-smart small businesses on behalf of their members, as part of a scheme implemented by Fairtrade Foundation. Each new enterprise aims to pilot new ways for cocoa farmers to earn extra money to supplement their incomes and, at the same time, build their capacity to protect their crops and families from the harmful effects of the climate crisis.
Emerging from an existing partnership between Mondelēz International and Fairtrade under the Climate Change and Organizational Strengthening Programme, the grant scheme is part of the Cadbury Farmer Resilience Fund supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Mondelēz International’s cocoa sustainability program Cocoa Life, and implemented by Fairtrade. The programme works with 22,500 farmers across nine unions and is designed to build a more resilient cocoa supply chain.
Life is tough for cocoa farmers in Ghana, many of whom live below the poverty line. To make matters worse, the climate crisis is already wreaking havoc: farmers in the cocoa lands are increasingly facing unpredictable weather patterns and rising temperatures. As producers battle less predictable seasons, climate-induced plant diseases continue to spread, resulting in lower incomes and food insecurity.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on Ghana’s cocoa sector. Border closures and restrictions have affected exports, leaving producers struggling to buy inputs and sell their produce. As a result, many families faced food insecurity due to price hikes. The Fairtrade-managed project aims to help them recover in a sustainable way.
Dr. Louisa Cox, Director of Impact at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “It’s crucial for cocoa farmers to earn income from other activities if they are going to have resilient futures. These grants are designed to allow cocoa unions to invest on behalf of their members. We’re giving them the seed capital and market information to make their own decisions, which is the right thing to do and also crucial to the long-term sustainability of cocoa.”
Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Head of Cocoa Life Ghana at Mondelēz International said: “I’m so pleased that the grants have now been awarded to the nine unions and the projects are under way. We’ll be supporting the unions to implement their business plans, especially with strategic direction, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and learning.”
In order to determine which cocoa unions were most in need of the grants, Fairtrade conducted a ‘markets and livelihoods analysis’, holding in-depth discussions with each of the nine unions to explore their ideas for new ventures. The unions carefully considered which alternative local crops could potentially be grown for income diversification, weighed up against each crop’s resilience to the effects of climate change.