GHANA – Cargill has celebrated the establishment of its own Licensed Buying Company (LBC), Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd, in Ghana.
The new LBC has been fully operational since November 2016, and allows Cargill to directly source cocoa from certified farmers in Ghana for the first time – putting the farmer at the heart of its business.
So far over 25,000 farmers are registered, of which 9,000 are actively pursuing selling beans through Cargill’s LBC network.
Cargill’s innovative high–tech purchasing model is built on the principles of sustainability and full traceability in Ghana.
Farmers deliver their cocoa to community warehouses where their beans are digitally weighed in front of them, assigned a fully traceable bar code and funds are then transferred straight to the farmer’s phone or e-wallet using E-money through partnerships with E-Zwich, MTN mobile Money and Tigo Mobil Money.
The revolutionary move to mobile money in Ghana adds assurance for the farmer to improve their ability to trade more effectively and eradicates all risks associated with cash payments.
Details of the beans are then recorded in a standardized management system before the beans are collected by larger trucks, which transfer them to central warehouses.
Through Cargill’s new bar code system, the company can now trace each individual bag of Ghanaian cocoa beans, sourced through the Cargill LBC, to the individual farm, creating a fully traceable supply chain down to farmer level for the first time in Ghana.
Speaking on the importance of working with partners to introduce the new payment system into rural areas in Ghana, Mr Lionel Soulard, Managing Director West-Africa Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate said “Never before has it been more critical for cocoa farmers in Ghana to be the master of their own destiny and improve their own livelihoods”.
He said with the introduction of an innovative digital payment system, or mobile money for short, this first-of-its kind initiative at scale in Ghana is creating a great opportunity for smallholder finance at the farm level.
“We strongly believe that this way of doing business is the future for cocoa farmers in Ghana. Mobile money is the first step towards improving incomes for farmers, as we build the infrastructure and capabilities for a more efficient and effective supply chain.
Our aim is to create an enabling environment for smallholder finance for the future, resulting in better entrepreneurial spirit already noticeable at the farmer level,” Mr Soulard said.
He said having long standing relations with cocoa farmers and their communities is critical for the full implementation of our sustainability approach and we now intend to expand our existing sustainability activities to enable farming communities to benefit from training, community and farm development support.
He said Cargill planned to scale up existing activities to enable the current 9000 farmers dealing with the LBC to benefit from good agricultural practice training, community development, farm development and support in line with the COCOBOD strategy.
He said developing our sourcing capabilities in the world’s second largest cocoa producing country is an essential step to meet growing customer demand for sustainable, certified cocoa.
“We are excited to continue this sustainability journey in Ghana, in partnership with COCOBOD, to address key challenges for our industry such as deforestation.
Together, we are investing in the next generation of cocoa farmers and supporting the development of farmer aggregates,” said Soulard.
“We look forward to building on our long history in the country and to embracing innovative sustainability practices and the latest technologies along the way.
Above all else, we are committed to improving the livelihoods of Ghanaian cocoa farmers and their communities for generations to come,” he added.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO from COCOBOD, said: “We are pleased to have worked with Cargill on such an innovative project, and this shows our continued partnership with Cargill grows from strength to strength.
We see this model as the future of cocoa sourcing in our country.
COCOBOD will continue to work with all stakeholders in the sector to support the livelihoods of the farmers to bring about efficiency in production and at the same time environmental sustainability and transparency in the sector.”
The introduction of this model reflects Cargill’s commitment to transform the Ghanaian cocoa sector for the benefit of all stakeholders, and reaffirms the Cargill Cocoa Promise, Cargill’s commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities and, in doing so, securing a long-term supply of cocoa.
April 14, 2017: GNA