Solidaridad is building the capacity of cocoa cooperatives to participate at all levels of decision-making in the cocoa value-chain, under its RECLAIM Sustainability programme.
Often, efforts towards sustainable cocoa production were derailed by policies that did not reflect the exigent needs of smallholder farmers and consequently did not receive the needed support
The RECLAIM SustainabilityProgrammetherefore, seeks to contribute to sustainable and inclusive cocoa, oil palm and gold supply chains, in which producers receive a fair value for their produce and work under safe conditions.
A statement issued in Accra by Abdul Fatah Maigah Mahama, Communications Manager for Solidaridad Ghana, said the lack of smallholder farmer representation at the highest levels of decision-making has been identified as contributing to the development of incoherent policies.
It said in this regard, Solidaridad had been organising dialogues to provide a platform for the cooperatives to discuss ideas, build institutional capacities, harness the benefits of interdependence, and develop a more coordinated and collaborative approach towards advocacy.
Mr Seth Kankam Nuamah, a Programme Manager at Solidaridad, said: "Many cocoa cooperatives remain divided on key issues that affect sustainable cocoa production, and it is crucial that they work together to present a united front."
Solidaridad recently held a dialogue session in Kumasi as part of a strategy to create an enabling policy environment for inclusive decision-making within the supply chain, he said.
It brought together 32 participants including regional directors of cooperatives and cooperative union volunteers from the Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Western North, Bono, Bono East, Western and Ahafo regions.
Mr Kwabena Apraku Yeboah, the Acting Registrar of Co-operative Societies at the Department of Cooperatives, expressed appreciation for the support received from Solidaridad under the programme.
"As a department, we are pleased that Solidaridad West Africa is building our capacity and empowering us to have a unified voice to advocate on issues affecting the cocoa supply” he said.
"The Department of Cooperatives registers its full cooperation with Solidaridad to strengthen cocoa cooperatives in Ghana."
Madam Rosemary Addico of Solidaridadsaid the organisation would continue to ensure seamless communication and synergy between supply chain actors and bring marginalised populations to the forefront of decision-making so that policies truly reflected their aspirations.
She said a successful cooperative business has the potential to provide employment and investment opportunities and ensure collaborative growth and fair distribution of wealth.
Solidaridad will continue to mobiliseactivate, and engage cooperatives to raise their voice and make informed decisions.
In West Africa, the RECLAIM Sustainability programme is implemented in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Sierra Leone by Solidaridad and TrustAfrica with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.