Solidaridad has partnered with the Department of Co-operatives to facilitate the establishment of a robust regional and national cooperative association to increase the participation of cocoa farmers in decision-making.
A statement issued in Accra by Solidaridad disclosed that under the partnership, Solidaridad will enhance the capacity of cooperatives and associations on cocoa sector policies, as well as support the implementation of advocacy actions and the development of advocacy campaigns.
The partnership was formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Accra. It said Cocoa farmers’ cooperatives in Ghana face significant challenges due to the absence of a legally recognized and national unified front. This lack of representation often leads to formulating policies that do not align with farmers’ needs, hindering sustainable cocoa production efforts.
Mr Bossman Owusu, Country Representative for Solidaridad in Ghana, said, “We are dedicated to supporting the capacity agenda, to enable farmers to participate in decision-making processes actively.” He assured that the organization is committed to empowering farmers to grow.
The Department of Co-operatives, on the other hand, will ensure the registration and regulation of the cocoa cooperative association, provide training in policies and governance, and maintain a database for registered cooperative unions.
Mr Kwabena Apraku Yeboah, Acting Registrar for the Department of Co-operatives, expressed gratitude for Solidaridad’s support and affirmed the Department’s dedication to strengthening cocoa cooperatives in Ghana through effective collaboration.
The partnership is under Solidaridad’s RECLAIM Sustainability! programme and forms part of efforts to strengthen civil society organizations, workers, and cooperatives to dialogue with public and private decision-makers and monitor implementations of mechanisms that ensure gender and social inclusion in the value chain.
Enhancing The Capacity of Cocoa Cooperative Unions On Sector Regulations
Over the past two years, the programme has been actively working to enhance the capacity of cocoa cooperative unions on sector regulations. So far, 83 cocoa Co-operatives Unions have been mobilized and strengthened for the formation of a national cooperative association. The Co-operatives have also been enabled to actively engage in advocating for their interests.
Mr Humphrey Ayisi, former President of the Fanteakwa Co-operative Union, said Solidaridad has been supportive and instrumental in developing cooperatives. “Our engagements with Solidaridad have brought about a significant improvement in our operations as a cooperative,” he said.
“Last year with support from Solidaridad, the Fanteakwa Co-operative Union, together with other cocoa farmers’ Co-operatives Union in the Eastern Region successfully submitted a petition to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and relevant government institutions to put an end to surface mining in the region.”Mr Humphrey Ayisi
RECLAIM Sustainability! programme is implemented by six Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centres and three external consortium partners with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In West Africa, the five-year programme is implemented in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Sierra Leone.
The programme seeks to promote an inclusive, sustainable trade and value chain in which the interests, voices and rights of farmers, workers and citizens are represented and heard in decision-making.
This will be achieved by supporting cocoa, oil palm farmers and mining companies/organizations to adopt and implement frameworks, models and norms that ensure sustainable sourcing, trade, and investment.
It is also to strengthen civil society organizations, workers, and Co-operatives to dialogue with public and private decision-makers and monitor implementations of mechanisms that ensure gender and social inclusion in the value chain.
The programme supports public institutions to collaborate with the private sector to develop and implement frameworks and systems that ensure sustainable production, trade, and consumption.