Over 300 cocoa farmers from five districts in Ashanti and Western North Regions have been equipped with additional livelihoods as part of the innovative ‘Forever Chocolate Pilot Project’.

The project is being implemented by Heifer International Ghana in collaboration with Barry Callebaut Ghana and its local partner Nyonkopa.

Ewurabena Yanyi-Akofur, the interim country director for Heifer International Ghana noted that “the project is to enhance the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in the communities from where Barry Callebaut sources its cocoa”.

She was speaking at the Forever Chocolate Pilot Project closure and dissemination workshop held at Bibiani in the Western North Region.

Mrs Yanyi-Akofur added that Heifer International’s Value-Based Holistic Community Development Model was successfully used to build solidarity and cohesion among the beneficiary farmers.

This was done through continuous group engagement which produced the right dynamics, organisation and social capital that can be leveraged for enterprise development and income generation in the beneficiary communities, she added.

Project Coordinator, Ebenezer Nartey said partnerships between Heifer Ghana and decentralised government agencies made it possible to provide technical coaching activities for the farmers.

He said, the project promoted the adoption of improved poultry management practices through weekly coaching and peer learning during group meetings among the farmers in the five districts.

Over 120 women in the project have reported of increased confidence in the management of businesses, earnings, improved social networks as well strengthened social capital.

Madam Ama Kumasi, a beneficiary and group leader in Jeninso commended Barry Callebaut and Heifer Ghana for their support.

She said the project is a big relief to them and their families especially during the out of cocoa season.

Cocoa farmers like Madam Ama have usually struggled to keep body and soul together when cocoa is out of season.

With the introduction of the project, farmers are now able to save enough money to take care of their families.