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Cargill Teams Up With Hershey, World Cocoa Foundation – 6,000 More Ghanaian Cocoa Farmers Will Gain Access to CocoaLink

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Cargill Teams Up With Hershey, World Cocoa Foundation – 6,000 More Ghanaian Cocoa Farmers Will Gain Access to CocoaLink

Cargill Teams Up With Hershey, World Cocoa Foundation – 6,000 More Ghanaian Cocoa Farmers Will Gain Access to CocoaLink
March 12
16:53 2013

Financial and technical support from Cargill will provide 6,000 more Ghanaian cocoa farmers and community members with access to CocoaLink, a programme which uses mobile phone voice and SMS text messages to connect cocoa farmers with information about good farming practices, labour safety, and crop marketing. CocoaLink was established in 2011 by the Ghana Cocoa Board, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), and the Hershey Company.

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 coming 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.

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.

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