Cocoa farmers in the Ashanti Region have appealed for the just-ended GIZ-SMS Covid-19 response project, to be extended in order for more farmers to benefit from the social intervention program.
The one-year program was targeted at mitigating immediate health and economic impact on cocoa smallholder farmers.
It was funded by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), with technical support from the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
So far, over 5,000 smallholder cocoa farmers in the country have benefitted from the “GIZ-SMS COVID-19 Response Project”.
They received items ranging from nose masks, hand sanitisers, hand washing facilities, soap, Wellington boots and gloves.
The objective is to encourage the increased adoption of COVID-19 health protocols and safety measures that mitigate the risk of spreading the virus in rural communities.
Speaking at the closing ceremony in Kumasi on Wednesday, July 6, 2020, Francis Ahiamatah, the Programmes Manager for Sustainable Management Service (SMS), a subsidiary of ECOM Agrotrade Limited, said the Project sought to mitigate immediate health and economic impacts on cocoa smallholder farmers.
“The initiative was implemented in five regions, 15 districts and 208 communities across the country”, he emphasized.
The regions, he said, were Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Bono and Western-North.
Mr Ahiamatah said the information was delivered through remote channels including radio and interactive voice response (IVR), videos, as well as community information centres.
“Service delivery was done through a network of field staff and supervisors, who worked directly with the farmers and community members”, he noted.
He said the overarching aim of the project, was to minimize income losses of cocoa farmers by protecting their health and keeping them on their farms.
One of the beneficiary farmers, Paul Nyarmah, said the farmers were earlier frightened to get vaccinated due to the rumours associated with the vaccines but were later relieved after a series of engagements.
He appealed to the funders for the project to be extended in order for more farmers to benefit.