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PRESS RELEASE: Sustainable farming is the key to the future of African cocoa

Cocoa industry must embrace sustainable schemes if it is to resist further threats from climate and pests.

Kumasi, GHANA, May 2015: Further training and education of cocoa farmers is essential for the development of a more robust cocoa sector in Ghana, according to Akuafo Adamfo, the leading licensed buyers of cocoa in the country. With rainfall in Ghana and elsewhere in West Africa trending well below the mean, demand for cocoa globally looks likely to exceed production. In addition, a fungus that kills cocoa pods means Ghana could face its smallest harvest in five years. Climatic challenges like this may well be on the increase, and the cocoa sector will need to respond accordingly.

Said Antoine BouDib, Managing Director with Akuafo Adamfo Marketing Company: “Proper training and more support will help cocoa farmers in Africa to meet these challenges. We are working with our farmers every day to help them to enhance the efficiency of their farms and support them in meeting the challenges a changing climate could throw at the cocoa industry.”

Akuafo Adamfo, part of the Finatrade group of companies in Ghana, trains and equips cocoa farmers, advising them on how their crops can meet UTZ certification standards of sustainability. This includes helping farmers to meet the challenge of pests in a manner that will help their cocoa plants prospect in the medium to long term.

UTZ certification is the independent global program for sustainable farming in the cocoa, coffee and tea sectors. Working with major buyers of end crops, the UTZ program aims to help end producers learn better farming methods, enhance their standards of living, safeguard the environment and grow better crops. It is independently monitored to ensure proper environmental standards, working conditions and child protection policies are being met.

Akuafo Adamfo announced this month that is now working with 200,000 farmers in Ghana, of which 20% are UTZ certified. This accounts for 4% of the cocoa sector in Ghana and represents an increase of 100% versus 2014’s harvest in terms of certified beans.

“Sustainable farming will play a large part in the future of Ghana’s agriculture,” Mr BouDib added. “If global demand for cocoa is to be met, and if farmers are to benefit economically from this increasing demand, the cocoa industry must deliver more in terms of training, fertilizers, equipment and expertise to producers. As important intermediaries in the supply chain, we recognise that Akuafo Adamfo has a critical role to play in that process.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Stuart Fieldhouse, Hawksmoor Partners

Tel: +44 (0) 207 377 1489

Email: stuart@hawksmoorpartners.com

About Akwafo Adamfo

Akwafo Adamfo is the leading, privately owned Licensed Buying Company (LBC) registered by the Ghana Cocoa Board to operate as a LBC and to develop cocoa sourcing and internal marketing activities in Ghana. It collects cocoa from over 200,000 farmers while providing them with access to credit, fertilizers, machinery, benefits and training programs. Through its total involvement and commitment to the cocoa supply chain, it is supporting cocoa farmers in their efforts to achieve sustainable businesses and to meet independent international certification and traceability standards.