Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cocoa-Link Helping Cocoa Tree Farmers in Ghana

Many African countries grow cocoa Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Congo but the main producers are Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire. 


Cocoa has always grown in many parts of the African tropics. The cacao-tree grows wild in the forests of tropical regions growing well in humid tropical climates with regular rains and a short dry season. Africa produces well over 65% of the world’s cocoa. Cocoa-Link now connects cocoa farmers with information about good farming practices. 

Many African countries grow cocoa Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Congo but the main producers are Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire.
Chocolate chip cookies

Cocoa is used to make the world’s most beloved sweet treat, chocolate. Most African Cocoa farmers sell their cocoa harvest to an intermediary in similar conditions of a tenant farmer and sharecropper. Cocoa was first planted in Ghana, in 1879 and as in the rest of West Africa; cocoa is grown almost entirely on small farms where labors work the land. Cocoa farming on this level in Africa ingenuous planting techniques of cocoa trees makes modernization impractical. However, a new mobile phone technology, Cocoa-Link connects cocoa farmers with information about good farming practices. Cocoa-Link delivers information by text and voice-mail to cocoa farmers in 15 communities in Western Ghana.

There are three broad types of cocoa forastero and crillo plus trinitario. Forastero is the major portion of all cocoa grown, amelonado is a forastero variety most widely grown in West Africa and other regions. The peak time for harvesting Cocoa trees is between September and December in West Africa.

The Ghanaian government sets the price for how much farmers are paid for a bag of cocoa beans. Farmers get around $57 for a bag of cocoa beans weighing about 140 pounds. However, farmers state fertilizer prices have raised sharply over the past few years.
The next time you have a chocolate craving or you give a gift for a special occasion to your sweetheart, chances are that piece of chocolate originated from Africa. However if you or your sweetheart crave chocolate and you want to keep a clear conscience, look for fair trade chocolates. On their website, Fair Trade states “Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers receive a fair price, allows farmers to invest in techniques that bring out the flavors of the region, and strictly prohibits slave and child labor.”

Cocoa-Link is sponsored by The Hershey Company, the Ghana Cocoa Board and the World Cocoa Foundation. According to Hershey’s “Cocoa-Link connects cocoa farmers with important information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labor, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production and crop marketing. The program launched with its first message to Ghanaian farmers in July 2011 is now the largest mobile farmer technology program of its kind. Working with many on-the-ground partners, Cocoa-Link is on track to reach 25,000 farmers by the end of the 2011 year.”

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