The Cocoa Abrabopa Association (CAA) has elected new Operational Area Representatives to steer the affairs of their operational areas for the next three years.
CAA has 39 cocoa operational areas across the five cocoa growing regions in Ghana namely Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Western South and each area has one Representative responsible for the overall functioning of cocoa farming processes.
This includes Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) and adherence to requirements for the Rainforest Alliance certification standards.
Speaking at the elections of these representatives at the Obuasi and Bekwai Area, the Acting Executive Secretary of CAA, Patrick Van Brakel, advised the newly elected representatives to discharge their duties diligently and efficiently to uplift the image of the association.
He asked them to be more innovative and to come out with programmes that would motivate members to be on top of their farming business. “The Operational Area Representative is established to strengthen the voice of our farmers in the management of the Association” he said.
The Council Chairman of CAA, Ismail Pomasi, said the establishment of Operational Area Representatives was to strengthen the voice of members at the grassroot and to support the efforts of the field staff in improving the livelihoods of members. “We believe in the bottom-up approach in decision making and having farmer representation at each operational level in decision making will enable the council and management better appreciate the concerns and challenges of our members. “Our Operational Area Representatives will be resourced with motor bikes, smart phones and PPEs to enable them carry out their duties with great convenience” he said.
Operational Area Rep
The newly elected Operational Area Representative for Obuasi and Bekwai, Azumah Jambil, on behalf of his colleagues, pledged to deliver on their mandate and come out new and innovative programmes that would be beneficial to the members.
He called for support and prayers from the members of the association for his colleagues from the 39 operational areas to enable them to deliver on their mandate.
The event, which, was attended by over 2,500 group executives and the new Operational Area Representatives, was also used to train their Liaison Officers on the Assess and Address (A&A) tool introduced by Rainforest Alliance Ghana.
The Certification Manager of CAA, Abdul Rahman, said the Assess and Address (A&A) tool introduced by Rainforest Alliance Ghana, was meant to ensure that certification was more context-specific and data-driven across CAA cocoa growing communities.
The A&A tool is a system designed to assess and address issues of child labour, forced labour, workplace violence and harassment, as well as discrimination within the cocoa sector.
He said, “the tool is unique in that it’s the first of its kind to be used by inspectors; it’s also the first time Rainforest Alliance is introducing such a tool to the certification bodies in Ghana.”
The Operations Manager of CAA, Roland Obosu said the association would continue to improve upon the knowledge base of its members on new agricultural technologies and techniques. “We will ensure that members within the operational areas adhere to all Rainforest Alliance certification standards and requirements” he said.
The farmers were grateful to Abrabopa for the new innovations and interventions been introduced across all their cocoa operational areas.“We can feel a new wind of change is blowing in Abrabopa and it’s going to bring massive improvements in our lives. “We are excited about the fact that the association is appointing our own colleague farmers to spy head affairs at the operational levels and regional levels” said Grace Owusu, a member of the association.