• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

Barry Callebaut distributes farm inputs to 3,000 cocoa farmers

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Barry Callebaut, a leading cocoa processing company in Nigeria has rewarded 3,000 cocoa farmers with N171million along with essential farm inputs for their efforts in supplying high-quality cocoa beans during the 2002–2023 farming season.

Mujeeb Oniyide, sustainability operations manager of the company, said the rewards and distribution of farm inputs to these farmers was to motivate and encourage them in their resolve towards ensuring a steady supply of top-grade cocoa beans.

Oniyide maintained that by investing in the farmers’ welfare and providing them with necessary resources, the company seeks to foster a mutually beneficial relationship that promotes sustainable cocoa production and uplifts the livelihoods of the farmers.

BusinessDay reported that cocoa farmers from Ondo, Osun, Ogun, and Cross River States, converged on Akure, the Ondo state capital for the event tagged ‘Premium Distribution Flag-off.

Oniyide further stressed that the incentives for the farmers will enable them to optimise their farming practises and achieve higher yields while maintaining the quality standards demanded by the industry.

“In supporting the National Economic Development Plans, many of the beneficiaries of this premium will be receiving the payment digitally through a wallet system created for the farmers,” he said, noting that it is aimed at improving the financial inclusion of farmers.

“This premium payment is in line with the mandate of the company’s Cocoa Horizon sustainability programme, which aims at improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development.

“Similarly, Barry Callebaut has trained over 5,000 cocoa farmers in Osun, Ondo, Ogun and Cross Rivers on good agricultural practises with strategic plans for measuring the impacts of the training.

“To also support these farmers and improve their productivity, farm inputs such as spraying machines, rain boots, cutlasses, wheel barrows, and many more were shared with farmers in the course of the season.

Oniyide added that the company has been working closely with cocoa farmers to guide against children working in cocoa plantations, instead allowing them to be educated.

“The scope is extended to human rights due diligence and strengthening the community-based approach to address the systemic root causes of child labour.

“The environmental approach is reinforced with a focus on insetting via agroforestry, generating cobenefits for farmers, and helping customers achieve their Net Zero ambitions.

Read also: Cocoa farmers demand creation of regulatory board

“New ambitions are added around a transformative cocoa farming model supporting living income, community empowerment and low carbon farming practises to support customers to reach net zero by 2050.”

On his part, Lawrence Afere, the founder of the Springboard Farmers co-operative in Ondo State, who commended Barry Callebaut for the support, urged the farmers to put more effort into improving the quality of their cocoa beans.

While one of the beneficiaries, Adenike Ogbera, disclosed that the rewards will lure more farmers into cocoa production, and those who are already in cocoa farming will be encouraged to produce more quality cocoa.