The Cocoa Household Income Diversification Project initiated by Barry Callebaut Sourcing AG, Cocoa Horizons Foundation, Aldi South Group in 2020-2022 and co-funded under the Beyond Chocolate Program aims to reach a living income for 1.500 smallholder farmers via the Barry Callebaut’s “Cocoa Horizons” program implemented in Ghana. The goal is to support farmers to develop farm business plans and farm Services that will promote financial Inclusion of smallholder farmers.
As land for farming becomes exhaustive, land ownership is the single most important step for cocoa farmers to secure their current livelihoods and future livelihood security for themselves and their households. The project foresaw that lack of land titles has become a major challenge among smallholder farmers particularly, women and migrant farmers. As a contribution to Beyond Chocolate Living Income targets, a creation of land titles for cocoa farmers will enable them to make long-term investments on their farms and to increase the bankability and chances to access finance.
The land registration documents will enable beneficiary farmers to have a long- term view of their cocoa farming businesses and empower them to make the right investment decisions to enhance farm productivity and improve their livelihoods.
One of the critical deliverables of the project was to pilot land rights title for about 500 farmers with an approximate of 2 farms. On the 29th June, 2022, at a durbar attended by traditional Authorities, representatives of project implementing partners, farmers, media and other key stakeholders, witnessed the handing over of land rights documentation for over 500 migrant cocoa farmers including 120 women in the Western North Region of Ghana. The beneficiary farmers came from Sefwi-Bodi, Sefwi-Anwianso, Bia West and Bia East cocoa Districts.
During the forum, Nana Kofi Nkua II, who represented the Paramount Chief of the Sefwi-Wiawso Traditional Authority reiterated the commitment of the Traditional Authority to work with all stakeholders to formalized over ten decades practice of customarily lands arrangement with farmers. He thanked Barry Callebaut, Nyonkopa Cocoa Limited, IDH, Meridia and also the beneficiary farmers taking this bold initiative.
Speaking at a durbar to symbolically receive the land rights documents on behalf of the farmers, the Country Sustainability Manager for Barry Callebaut/Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Ltd, Fred Frimpong expressed optimism that “the land registration documents will enable beneficiary farmers to have a long- term view of their cocoa farming businesses and empower them to make the right investment decisions to enhance farm productivity and improve their livelihoods”.
The Ghana Country Manager of Meridia, Joseph Okyere emphasized that ‘’the acquisition of the land ownership document will at least protect the beneficiary cocoa farmers for the next 50 years to invest in the land’’.
Given a goodwill message at the function, Charles Brefo-Nimo, IDH’s Country Manager expressed his joy for the achievement of 100% of the deliverable of provision of land rights document which provides the opportunity for the implementing partners to upscale and possibly replicate the project in other cocoa landscapes across the country.
Ebenezer Allottey, a beneficiary farmer stated that “I did not believe this will ever happen since our initial thought was that the Chiefs wanted to know the size so that they can take their lands from us as we are seen as migrants” It is good news and we will spread the message to other farmers”
Partners: Barry Callebaut, ALDI SOUTH Group, Boris B Farms Limited, Envirofit West-Africa limited, Koudijs Ghana Limited, Meridia, Solidaridad West-Africa
Find out more about the project here!