ECOCARE AND PARTNERS MONITORS VISIT
Ecocare Ghana team accompanied by the country Director for Rainforest Alliance/UTZ Mr. Kwame Osei visited some communities in the project areas (Adwumam, Nkwanta, Abrokofe, Seniegyakrom in the Western North region Juaboso district and Akantanso, Chirayaaso, Bofaaso in the Ashanti region Atwima mponua district). Rainforest Alliance/UTZ is the funding partner for the MoCCPA project.
The purpose of the visit was to access the work done so far by the EcoCare Ghana on the MoCCPA project and how far the Cocoa and Forest Initiative implementation process is unfolding in the project communities.
In each community visited, the community members gathered for discussions, Patience from EcoCare starts the conversations by asking the community members available about what they remember about the Cocoa and Forest Initiative and some of the commitments that were in the frame work of action.
Community members were asked to share some implementations (or work) from the Cocoa and Forest Initiative which has been done so far after the MoCCPA project was initiated.
AKANTANSO community spoke of some companies like OLAM, CARGILL, AGROECOM (LBC’s) coming to map their various farms, CODAPEC provided fertilizers for the farmers, tree seedlings offered to farmers to plant on their farms. Tree tenure was a big issue in that community. Farmers wanted to know the benefits from planting the trees on their farms since most of them have been victims of timber companies coming to fell trees on their farms without their consent and in the process destroying their crops.
Cocopa farmer’s organization have being taught farm diversification (additional livelihood) and how to nurse seedlings (the challenge with this was farmers did not go along with their seedlings along with them leaving the tree seedlings to get rotten).
At Bofaaso community, field monitors for the were asked how the CFI process was going so far after they returned from the monitors training in kumasi. The monitors responded, there has been mapping of farms by companies (Cargill), Kuapa cocoa gave out tree seedlings to farmers, Cocobod pollinated (hand pollination) some farms just 10% of farmers in the community and also encouraged farmers to form cooperatives. According to the monitors, forestry commission sent information around about tree planting exercise that will be happening soon in their community. In addition, some number of Fertilizer bags were brought to the community but in small quantities.
Chirayaaso community monitors told the team about farm mapping done by some cocoa buying companies (Cargill), mass spraying of cocoa farms by government (Mofa) and Olam provided tree seedlings to their farmers.
At Adwumam, community members told the team of some activities that have taken place since EcoCare Ghana visited and spoke about the Cocoa and Forest Initiative. Mapping of farm lands by cocoa buying companies like Mondelez, Olam and Kuapa. Documentations of the mapped farms are being given to farmers, tree seedlings provided to farmers.
Abrokofe community had their farms mapped by Mondelez and Kuapa cocoa and given documents for the mapped farms, Codapec also provided fertilizers for farmers. They complained of only members of a particular group of farmers have their farms being mapped and given assistance
All Communities visited were very interactive and contributed immensely to the issues discussed. Some concerns and issues were raised by community members during the meetings and some of these are as follows:
Some of the community members had problems with the way Extension officers teach and execute their duties. Some community members were of the view that, they were not qualified enough to take farmers through farming practices because of some past experience where some extension officers wrongfully advised farmers in fertilizer and pesticides application which had a terrible effect on their farms and produce.
Some fertilizers and pesticides provided by Codapec some time ago destroyed (burnt the leaf of the cocoa) some farms of farmers in the Adwumam community e.g. of the supposed these chemical is bisaf which destroyed their farms this incident was reported to MOFA and had the product banned.
Some community members suggested that Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) should bring out a list of recommended fertilizers and pesticides for farmers to apply on their farms.
Mr. Kwame osei from Rainforest Alliance/UTZ advised cocoa farmers to form cooperatives in their communities in order for them to be recognized and receive farm inputs as Cocobod has issued a directive to that effect.
The visit lasted four (4) days and in all six (6) communities were visited and their capacity built. Community monitors were met during the visit and they shared their experience and how far the monitoring is coming up.