Root Capital has supported the Kuapa Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union Limited (KKFU), with $325,000 to minimise the exposure risk of smallholder farmers to COVID-19 and mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic on their lives.
The two companies have rolled out the COVID-19 Exposure Risk Mitigation Exercise to help over 100,000 smallholder cocoa farmers across fifty-seven districts in six cocoa regions in Ghana.
Under the program, beneficiary farmers who are members of the cocoa co-operative are provided with handwashing stations in their respective communities and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help in the fight against the pandemic.
With COVID-19 still affecting all aspects of life, cocoa farmers in Ghana are struggling to meet production targets due to the impact of the pandemic.
Cocoa farmers in rural communities have little or no access to hand hygiene, sanitation facilities, and information on COVID-19 prevention measures.
A team of public health and clinical specialists have been deployed to these cocoa communities to educate farmers on COVID-19 prevention protocols.
Head of the Kuapa Kooko Exposure Mitigation team, Dr. Fred Bedzrah explained that the core part of the intervention includes the provision of hand hygiene stations, which is done by giving them veronica buckets and the provision of taps to enable farmers to improve hand hygiene in their homes.
Executive Secretary for KKFU, Nelson Adubofour disclosed that there were instances where some contracts by some off-takers who take cocoa from the KKFU were cancelled leading to loss of revenue which could be used to better the lives of farmers.
“That notwithstanding, we have partners like Root Capital who have come in to sustain us by providing interventions that we can use as a matter of fact to protect so that they remain healthy and then continue with the businesses they do,” he added
Anglophone West Africa Portfolio Manager for Root Capital, Francis Opoku Mensah, said he was impressed with the partnership and indicated that a visit to some communities revealed the KKFU had already begun distributing the items to the farmers.
“Thankfully, Kuapa because of this intervention has not recorded any COVID-19 case among their farmers, and they are talking about over a hundred thousand farmers”, he indicated