The Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union’s (KKFU) Gender Programme, which aims at empowering female cocoa farmers to stimulate their economic activities, break the vicious cycle of poverty, continues to yield dividends, with about 20,000 female members of the Union, benefiting from it.
Under the programme, instituted in 1998, to boost female participation in cocoa farming, the women are giving training on leadership skills, business and financial literacy as well as good agronomic practices to increase cocoa yield and also increase their income and well-being.
Addressing the 25th Annual Delegates Conference of the Union, here, on Wednesday, the President of the Union, Fatima Ali, said there had been an increase of the female membership from 33 per cent in 2018 to 35 per cent in 2019, as a result of the skills training, gender justice, micro-credit schemes and alternative livelihood projects which have been introduced to the women’s groups.
It was under the theme, “Building Strategic Partnerships to Reduce Hunger and End Extreme Poverty (SDG1, 2, &17).
Realizing that women’s social and economic empowerment was fundamental to the global goal of realizing gender equality and, to a large extent the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, the President said, “Kuapa Kokoo has, therefore, partnered with like-minded organizations across the globe to provide support and tools for training and capacity building, implement measures to reduce gaps and promote equality in the economic and political spheres.”
Some of the organisations in partnership included organizations in the field of information technology, research and development, banking and finance, governance and rural development, policy and advocacy, livelihood and environmental sustainability, health and well-being, she said.
She emphasized that the women groups in the various zones would be resourced to act as drivers of change which would impact their communities and largely the nation as a whole adding, “women make significant contribution to economies as food producers, business owners, caretakers of children and of resources, and so when more women work ,economy grow.”
Ms. Ali touched on the Union’s TeleAgric Centre which has taken off with the pilot phase ongoing at Ofoase in the Ejisu Municipality with over 500 farmers having received smartphones with support from Roots Capital and Millennium Promise Alliances.
The smartphones, she explained, have been installed with applications that would help farmers for early detection of diseases, ensure plant health, increased yield and reduce pre and post-harvest loses in farms.
Mr Nelson Adubofuor, Acting Executive Secretary of the KKFU, noted that as part of the sustainability drive, the Union, through its environmental team, facilitated the raising of more than 826,000 cocoa seedlings out of a target of 1,000,000 at 69 sites within 13 societies including Akontombra, Asawinso, Asempanaye, Enchi, Wasa Akropong, for distribution to about 2,130 farmers with 812 of the figure being females.
During the year under review, Mr Adubofour mentioned that the Union shared GH¢6.8 million as bonus among its members.
He said, the period also saw the distribution of more than 174,020 yam seeds under the Kuapa Kokoo gender livelihood support programme and the Sankofa Project to 803 farmers within 72 zones in 21 societies, as part of the Union’s livelihood support programme.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, KUMASI