Prince Charles’ visit to a cocoa farm at Kona in Ashanti
The visiting Prince of Wales, Prince Charles on Sunday paid a working visit to a cocoa farm at Kona in the Sekyere South District of the Ashanti Region as part of his four-day tour in Ghana.
The elated and apparently lost for words Agyen Brefo, the 42-year-old Kona based mixed crop farmer, who had the rare and memorable experience of the visit to his farm by the Prince of Wales was singled out for praise for the sustainable manner in which he produced his crops.
Prince Charles has been a long-time advocate for sustainable farming and used the visit to experience how sustainable cocoa is done in Ghana.
With his main focus on cash crops, Brefo has been farming cocoa in the last seven years on a 27-acre land.
Aside cash crops, the farmer also focuses on poultry, Guinea fowl, sugar cane and a chain of locally demand crops in line with Ghana’s food security policy.
Prince Charles did not make any audible statement to the hearing of the media but nodded his head as he interacted with Brefo.
Prince Charles did not make any policy statement but appeared to have been encouraged and impressed with Brefo’s achievement in seven years.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will end their working visit to Ghana on Tuesday.
Agyen Brefo is one of the over 400,000 farmers who have been benefiting from investments in training in good agronomic practices over the years supported by Kuapa Kokoo.
UK Monarch experiences cocoa farming at first hand
Ghanaian cocoa farmers have appealed to Prince of Wales to use his first-hand experience on Ghana’s cocoa farm to lobby for higher prices of the commodity on the international market.
Prince Charles was on a model cocoa farm at Kona in the Ashanti Region as part of a state visit to Ghana.
Forty-one-year-old Agyen Brefo, a model cocoa farmer, took the monarch through the process of preparing cocoa from the farm to the shed, explaining to him why Ghana’s cocoa is considered the premium quality product.
Agyen started farming seven years ago after spending years in Accra and Israel where he had travelled to seek greener pastures which perhaps, never appeared green for him, after all.
With 27 acres of land, he used about two-thirds to cultivate cocoa, using the hybrid while coconuts, sugar cane and other crops occupy the rest together with some poultry.
He has interspersed cocoa with tree species like Odum and Ofram to serve a dual purpose of providing windbreak and timber re-afforestation.
He encouraged other companies to assist the youth to go into farming, especially as regard finance and land acquisition.
He called on the youth who have family lands to start the cocoa business because it was really juicy.
Agyen said he is the luckiest farmer to have hosted Prince Charles on his farm beyond the support he had received from Kuapa kooko Company.
Officer in charge of Extension and Environmental Services at Kuapa Kooko, Frank Okyere, led a team to take Prince Charles through getting cocoa ready for consumption.
The Prince acknowledged it is tedious work.
Britain consumes an estimated 660,900 tonnes of chocolate a year, an average of 11kg per person per year, a figure that equates to about 3 bars a week.
The farmers said they considered the Prince’s visit as one that will encourage them to do more to increases production but pleaded with the Prince to give cocoa prices a serious thought.
More importantly, they want Prince Charles to use what he learnt on the visit to lobby for higher prices for cocoa so farmers can get better rewards for their toil.
Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union shares vision with media
Ghana Agriculture News-The President of the Kuapa Kookoo Farmers Union (KKFU), Madam Fatima Ali has revealed the outfit’s decision to pay pensions to its member farmers who retire from active farming.
Addressing the media at a special soiree held in Kumasi, Madam Ali noted that the pensions is to ensure that members have some livelihoods to live on after being part of the Union and also having participated in the group’s activities for a considerable period of time.
The President, who recently won another four year mandate on behalf of the other executive also disclosed partnerships the company has reached with MTN-Ghana to ensure members have access to mobile phones that is toll free to enable them communicate and attend to pressing needs on the farm.
She also hinted of plans to fast track the period by which Kuapa Kokoo pays bonus to members aside the one government pays to cocoa farmers in the country for the work they do.
‘’We are committed to ensuring our member farmers benefit from every initiative the new executive are coming up with so that we can entice young and enterprising youth into our business and in farming in general’’, Madam Fatima posited.
The President hinted of plans by the new executive to intensify efforts in upgrading the knowledge of its union members.
Sensitization forums, field education trips as well as workshops will be periodically organized to ensure farmers apply the right kind of knowledge in their business, Madam Fatima noted.
The Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union, Madam Fatima mentioned is determined to make its farmers all round in terms of knowledge and effectiveness so that they can produce on a large scale and shore up their yearly yields.
She promised to provide the union’s farmers with improved seedlings and extension services so as to enable the group cultivate on large scale all year round.
‘’I am happy to inform the media that these new executive is determined to apply every mechanism aimed at making the work of our farmers worthwhile as we deal with welfare issues, improved working conditions, pensions and incentive packages for the collective good of our members’’, Madam Fatima intimated.
Hinting about the new direction the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Company Limited, a licensed buying company with links to Kuapa Kokoo Union, the Managing Director, Samuel Adim Addo, reiterated the commitment of his outfit to make the activities of the company transparent.
He noted the new executive of the Union as well as the company is resolved to fight all corrupt practices bedeviling the association.
With the introduction of technology in the form of Tele-agric and Tele-medicine, the MD noted Kuapa Kokoo is bound to do well in business from now.
In the 2017-2018 large crop season, the MD noted the farmer union was able to achieve 99% of its target as the LBC purchased a total of 59, 096 metric tonnes of cocoa from its farmers across the country.
He noted the partnership with the Millennium Promise Alliance, a health focused organization is yielding dividends as farmers have enough incentives to do well knowing issues about their health and welfare is safe.
Leading discussions at the forum, Chief Nat Nsarkoh, Director Millennium Promise Alliance tasked the media to show particular interest in the activities of Kuapa Kokoo.
This, he noted will afford them the opportunity to sell the message and vision of the union to the public so as to encourage people into farming and into the right association of farmers.
The transparent nature of Kuapa Kokoo and its activities, Chief Nat opined makes it imperative for the media to zoom in on them so that they could be used as a yardstick in measuring the success of co-operative farmer groups in the country.
New Kuapa Kooko executives commit to transparency
Elected executives of the Kuapa Kooko Farmers Union (KKFU) have pledged to run a transparent and an accountable administration within their four year tenure.
The executives maintained that the administration will guide against discrimination, nepotism and bias towards members of the union.
The executives have also pledged to prioritize the welfare of members and also ensure that policies that will enhance the needs of farmers are implemented.
These remarks were made after the executives were successfully elected at the Union’s 2018 National Congress in Kumasi.
The elections were without hitches as delegates and the candidates comported themselves before, during and after the process.
Incumbent President for the Union, Madam Fatima Ali, who went unopposed polled 158 Yes votes representing 93.5% to retain her position.
Speaking to journalists after the swearing in ceremony of the elected executives, the retained President for the Union, Madam Fatima Ali, said she and the other executives will work hard to prioritize the needs of cocoa farmers and other union members.
She indicated that the leadership will also work at enhancing the skills of cocoa farmers through periodic training and capacity building to help them maximize their yields and minimize losses in the sector.
“The main priority for the us as elected executives is the progress of Kuapa Kooko and the well-being of our farmers and other Union members. We will put in place friendly policies to ensure that farmers are able to increase their yields every season. We will ensure that there is no discrimination within the Union and we will also ensure that transparency and accountability will be effective so that the farmers can always have trust in the leadership”, she stressed.
Tele Agric for Cocoa Farmers
Madam Ali said part of the policies to help Cocoa Farmers was the introduction of Tele Agric Technology for Cocoa farmers and the Union members.
According to her, the system was aimed at helping cocoa farmers to enhance productivity in the sector.
She explained that the mobile phone innovation will allow for communication in local dialect to make interaction easy for farmers who need help from their Agric extension officersa and others.
She further said Kuapa Kokoo has programmed anything pertaining to cocoa farming on mobile phones which has been supplied to farmers to teach them how to operate it.
Replanting and Afforestation needed to boost Cocoa sector
The Kuapa Kooko Farmers Union President emphasized that there was the need to replace old cocoa trees with new ones and the planting more trees to help increase productivity in Ghana’s cocoa sector.
She indicated that leadership of the Union will train farmers on afforestation methods to get them to plant more trees on their cocoa farms to boost production.
Provision of Chemicals and Fertilizers by Government
Madam Fatima Ali called on Government to distribute enough pesticides and other chemicals to cocoa farmers to help them prevent diseases and pests from destroying cocoa farms.
She also appealed for adequate fertilizers for cocoa farmers to increase production levels in the sector.
According to her, although Government has been providing farmers with the pesticides and fertilizers, the quantity should be increased and the distribution should always be timely and sustained.
She called on all the union members to rally behind the elected members and leadership so they can work together towards the progress of the Union.
By: Hafiz Tijani/Citinewsroom.com/Ghana
IDEG, UTZ et al laud Kuapa Kokoo’s national elections
The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) Ghana has lauded Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative Farmers Union, for their “exceptional” organisation of a very transparent, free and fairly contested National elections at their 6th Delegates Congress held on Friday, August 10, 2018 at Miklin Hotel in Kumasi.
The 100% attendance Congress saw the election into office of new Executives to mann the affairs of the farmer-based organisation for the next four years.
Mr. Haruna Yoda, a representative from IDEG, who made this observation on behalf of the civil society organisation after the polls said he was highly elated at the level of discipline and decency with which the farmer delegates conducted themselves before during and after the elections.
He expressed his satisfaction with the transparency and the fair manner in which candidates presented their manifestos and the general conduct of the elections by officers from the electoral commission of Ghana – Ashanti region.
He said as an observer, he learnt a lot from the way and manner the polls were conducted, and therefore promised to share his experience with other organizations and his leadership.
“Kuapa Kokoo has really demonstrated high sense of integrity and I have really learnt a lot worth sharing. Having gone through the polls successfully, I will urge you all to come together and work as a formidable force than never before and ensure that the growth that we are all looking for is attained to make Ghana proud” he noted.
His admonition was also corroborated by Mr. Maurice K. Amoo, Program Officer, Ghana – UTZ & Rainforest Alliance.
“Our core values are to strengthen farmer-based organisation to ensure sustainable farming practices. Therefore, what you have demonstrated here today is heartwarming and is worth sharing. I will entreat you all to stay focused and stay united to keep your position as the shining example for other farmer-based organizations in Africa “, he said.
Mr. Edward A. J. Akapire, Head of Region, Fairtrade Africa West Africa Network, also commenting on the event congratulated them for such a world class display of appreciation for democracy and reminded the members of Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative Union about the important role they play in the socioeconomic affairs of the country.
He further urged them to give their maximum support to their new leaders for them to succeed.
“Even though you have elected new executives to stir the affairs of the union for the next four years, they can never succeed without your maximum support. It is only peace and unity that can propel Kuapa to greater heights. Therefore, you have to come together and support your new executives to achieve”, he said.
The national delegates Congress saw the election of seven new members tasked with the responsibility to stir the affairs of the farmer-based organisation for the next four years.
At the presidential polls, Madam Fatima who went unopposed but had to still be voted for in order to be confirmed received an overwhelming endorsement from the delegates.
She polled 158 votes out of 169 votes cast representing 93.5% of the total valid votes cast against 11 dissenting votes.
Three Executive Members including Mary Appiah, Mary Kosi and Enerst Boateng were also elected to be part of the Executive Council.
In a closely contested contest, Mr. James Agyekum Kwarteng who won the Vice-President position polled 87 votes, representing 51.2% while his only contender in that category Nana Opoku Asiedu II polled 83 votes, representing 48.8% loosing by 4 votes.
Madam Cecilia Appianim polled a surprise with 77 votes, representing 45.8% while her male competitors, Appian Kwarteng and Yaw Sraha polled 49 and 42 votes, representing 29.2% and 25% respectively.
The Assistant Treasurer Mr. Sampson Cobbina also unopposed like the President’s position polled 115 confirmation votes against 55 dissenting votes.
Mr. Edward Yaw Mensah a senior officer from the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana – Ashanti region supervised the entire elections. He won the admiration of all and was highly commended for his level of expertise and transparency clearing every shadow of doubt on the outcome of the results. Once again flighting the confidence in our Electoral system.
Madam Fatima Ali speaking on behalf of all the newly elected executives amidst cheers and applause from the delegates, thanked all for such an overwhelming support and confirmation of her leadership.
She pledged never to disappoint the farmers with the confidence they have reposed in her.
Commenting further, Madam Fatima Ali called for the protection of the farmers money and interest in unison with transparency, probity and accountability.
She also called on the rank and file of the farmer-based organisation to be circumspect in their dealings in order not to derail the successes chalked by the previous leadership.
She urged all to reconcile as the build the Kuapa brand, shun nay sayers and focus on improving the lots of the farmers. She intimated that “elections are over so we must fight a common course to position the organization on the global platform for proper recognition and progress”.
The Deputy Registrar from the Department of cooperative Ghana during the swearing into office commended the new Executives for emerging victorious and reminded them of their oath of office. He admonished the Executives that any breach of this oath and not following the properly laid proceedings for addressing internal conflicts can lead to your expulsion from the union hence they must all be guided by these bye laws.
CRIG @ 80
Kuapa Kokoo, was one of the proud sponsors and a special guest at the event.
The Communication and Gender team organized a beautiful photo exhibition to inform the general public about our key activities:
- HealthCare Intervention
- Productivity Enhancement
- Ethical Labor Intervention.
- Gender Mainstreaming
- Environmental Sustainability.
The team took the opportunity to further inform visitors about Kuapa Kokoo’s achievements over the past twenty five (25) years.
The Gender group had some of their products displayed to the general public. The products included Shower Gel, Liquid Soap, Washing powder, Bar Shop, Parazone, Hair Food, Hair Shampoo, Local Rice etc. All of these products were the works of the Kuapa Kokoo Women group from some selected Kuapa communities.
Our booth attracted a lot of visitors (about 500 hundred people) including some special personalities such as the Chief of Tafo Osabarima Adusei Peasah and other Stakeholders. They were taken through the photo exhibits thus educating them about Kuapa Kokoo. Those who didn’t know of Kuapa Kokoo expressed interest in joining the cooperative after learning about us.
Kuapa Kokoo branded souvenirs such as Pens, Calendars, Leaflets, Folders, Mugs and T-Shirts were given to those who visited the booth.
The products displayed by the gender team were highly patronized by people at the events. Visitors were very impressed about the products and the extent to which the women farmers have been empowered with such skills.
At the forecourt, speeches were said by the distinguished personalities present.
The Executive Director of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana Dr. Franklin Manu Amoah said in his speech that “it had not only generated innovative research outputs in the cocoa industry but can boast of a cocoa flavour laboratory, the first of its kind in Africa to improve on post-harvest activities of farmers to guarantee high quality cocoa in terms of flavour”.
It was said that – The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), has made available 100,000 cocoa seedlings for distribution to 25 farmer groups in the Eastern Region to help boost cocoa production. Mr. Nelson Adubofour (Executive Secretary-KKFU) received a seedling on behalf of Kuapa Kokoo.
Added to that were 30,000 “emire” tree seedlings to provide shade and protect the young cocoa plants.
Mr. Eric Kwakye-Darfuor, the Regional Minister, said CRIG’s contribution to the growth of the cocoa industry had been enormous.
The Tafohene, Osabarima Adusei Peasah, in his speech also appealed to the government to do more to tackle bad cocoa roads.
The opening durbar which started at 10:00am lasted for approximately four (4) hours. On the whole, it was worth participating in the event and positive impression about Kuapa Kokoo was created on the minds of participants.
Take Up The Idea Of Land Banks – Kufour
Former President John Agyekum Kufour has lent his support to the concept of land banks in Ghana.
The former President who chaired the maiden Green Ghana Lecture Series organized by kuapa kokoo and Millennium Promise Alliance (MPA) believes the creation of land banks will help in better utilization of lands in the country.
The idea was raised by Flt. Lt. Joseph Bampo Atiemo during the panel discussions and was endorsed by H.E John Agyekum Kufour, the former President who suggested to the current President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo to take it up for implementation. He intimated that this presents a good opportunity for addressing land litigation issues and value for arable farm lands.
H.E. John Agyekum Kufour also suggested that the nation moves away from her overreliance on cocoa and diversify into coffee or other cash crop production.
He recounted the state of Ghana’s cocoa sector when he took over as president of Ghana and recalled some of his achievements as far as cocoa is concerned.
The programme which was held at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra last Wednesday saw several dignitaries both local and international contributing in various ways towards bettering the lot of cocoa farmers in Ghana.
Praised Kuapa Kokoo President
Mr. Kufour praised the President of the Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative Farmers & Marketing Union Ltd; Madam Fatima Ali for her hardwork and impact on Ghana’s cocoa sector. “I think Madam Fatima Ali is the Yaa Asantewaa of the cocoa sector”, he said.
H.E. J. A. Kufour, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, Hon. Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare, Flt. Lt. Joseph Atiemo, Nana Frimpong Abebrese II, Dr. Kofi Koduah Sarpong, Ms. Pauline Tiffen and Madam Fatima Ali all picked awards at the event for their great contributions to the development of Ghana’s cocoa sector.