Ghana COCOBOD in collaboration with Solidaridad, on Friday launched the Ghana chapter of Women in Cocoa and Chocolate Network (WINCC) as part of efforts to decentralize the activities of the network, in Accra.
The launch, on the theme “Cocoa consumption: business and health”, is to facilitate connection between women in the value chain and enable them to share knowledge in the cocoa sector, across different levels of influence and functional areas.
It is also to connect and engage women throughout the cocoa and chocolate chain, to share, create and achieve more, inspiring them to increase their sphere of influence and take and lead, and contribute to a more sustainable value chain.
Nana Ama Dokuaa Asiamah, Deputy Minister of Information said women play an important role in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country, but having an arm solely responsible for the development and advancement of women in cocoa in the cocoa and chocolate industry was one remarkable feat all should be proud of and be committed especially to its growth, development and sustainability.
She said whiles WINCC aims at engaging, connecting and inspiring women through the whole cocoa and chocolate supply chain, members of the association should be supported to advance the development of women’s right and their human resource capabilities enhanced.
This she said would equip them with the needed and requisite knowledge, and enable them take up key leadership roles in the society and also help mitigate the gender inequalities and disparities that has to a greater extent characterized the society.
Nana Dokuaa said women cocoa farmers were central to the sustainability of the cocoa supply chain and cocoa growing communities, saying although too often unrecognized and undervalued; women’s labour makes significant contributions to the quantity and quality of cocoa produced
They are the forgotten unpaid family labourers who have an essential and active role in particular cocoa production practices.
“Today the cocoa sector is facing considerable sustainability crises and a range of social, environmental, and economic challenges.
“The transformative, structural solutions and corporation on supporting women cocoa farmers is a critical step for the global cocoa sector to create a future that doesn’t only survive but also prospers.”
She noted that empowering women cocoa farmers not only has a positive impact on the lives of women, men and community but also has a business advantage, thus when women have control over their own income they reinvest in their families, increasing the wellbeing and sustainability of cocoa growing communities.
Dr Agnes Naadu Owusu Ansah, Director, Audit, Ghana COCOBOD said in Ghana about 25 percent of cocoa farmers were women, but in most cases do not have control over their own income and earnings, and this goes a long way to affect the situations of their families especially children.
She said the rational for paying attention to women empowerment in the cocoa industry was engraved in a body of empirical proof that demonstrates the ways in which women were essential in ensuring cocoa productivity and food securities in families.
“To empower women, Ghana COCOBOD has opened up to private stakeholders whose vision is to ensure equity and equality in the industry, saying COCOBOD values women in the supply chain and has been working consciously to avoid gender inequalities and want more women in decision making roles.”
She entreated women cocoa farmers to make a change that matters in the sector in their own localities to improve the economy of the country and to be motivated to take responsibility of luring more women farmers to start their own farms and become prominent cocoa farmers.
Madam Suzan Yemidi, Country Representative, Solidaridad in Ghana, said Solidaridad was an international civil society organization with global experience in facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound and profitable supply chains.
She said it was formed in 2015 by a group of women with the idea of having a network for women in the cocoa sector to engage with each other on issues of mutual importance.
WINCC she said was aimed at stimulating professional women throughout the value chain to increase their impact sphere of influence and become more visible and active in contributing to the objective of a more sustainable value chain.
“WINCC will contribute in three ways to a improve gender balance in the chain by connecting through events and online networks, engaging through learning and growing professionally to take leadership roles.”