Group disburse grants to Cocoa Farmers in Nigeria
As part of measures to support sustainable cocoa farming in Nigeria, a premium payment worth of 171 Million Naira has been recently disbursed to support cocoa farming in Osun, Ondo, Ogun and Cross River states. This is a significant increase compare to 17 Million shared to farmers in the previous season to farmers in just 2 states (Ondo & Osun).
The Sustainability Manager, Barry Callebaut, Mujeeb Oniyide stated that the disbursement of funds to cocoa farmers is in line with the mandate of the company’s Cocoa Horizon sustainability programme which aims at improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development.
To support the National Economic Development plans, many of the beneficiaries of this premium are set to receive the payment digitally through a wallet system created for respective farmers. This is aimed at improving the financial inclusion of cocoa farmers in the rural settlements.
One of the beneficiaries, Lawrence Afohren stated that ‘despite the enormous challenges faced by cocoa farmers, it is good to know that stakeholders are coming together to mitigate them, in the 1960s, 70s Nigeria used to do like 500,000 tons but it reduced in the 80s but thankfully we are getting to point where we know that cocoa is important to the socio economic aspect of the country’.
Another beneficiary, Togbera Adenike Tawakalt was excited about the support received so far from the company since she started supplying cocoa to the chocolate company. She opined that with regular support from government as well as private companies such as Barry Callebaut, more farmers would be encouraged to go into cocoa farming.
‘Retired personnel can buy land and venture into cocoa farming. They will not only get high yield on investment but also get incentives when they supply their cocoa produce to chocolate companies’.
The Management of the company have also embarked on capacity building by training over 5,000 cocoa farmers in Osun, Ondo, Ogun and Cross Rivers on good agricultural practices with strategic plans of measuring the impacts of the trainings.
‘To also support these farmers and improve their productivity, farm inputs such as spraying machine, rain boots, cutlasses, wheel barrows – and many more were shared to farmers in the cause of the season’.
Barry Callebaut through the Cocoa Horizon continue to work closely with local farmers on how to improve their yield, shun cocoa farming activities in protected areas and support “Zero Child Labour” programmes.