In certification standards training, Agroeco has trained farmer groups, organization on standards including UTZ, Rain Forest Alliance and other important practices on the farm. For the past years Agoeco in partnership with other stakeholders in the cocoa in industry have trained farmer groups and cooperatives to achieve various forms of certification. These groups include ABOCFA, Tano and Ntobroso Oganic cooperative, Assin Fosu Impact project (RA) and Asankrangwa Impact Project. In total over 10, 000 farmers have been trained.
ICS setup and Management Training
The presence of an Internal Control System (ICS) is a requirement for group certification to organic standards. It is also used for other types of certification. For us it has evolved into a smallholder information management system (SIMS).
It is a tool to manage the traceability of the product, the adherence to the standard’ requirements but also to monitor performance and effectiveness of interventions, and improve the quality of production. It results in a database with unique information about the farming practices but also the socio-economic situation of the farmers.
Being certified is not a one-off thing but an ongoing process. Farmers are expected to comply with the standards throughout the year; the surveillance by the ICS/SIMS should also be active throughout the year. ICS activities include registering farmers; training on ICS; internal inspection-monitoring, planning of external certification, tracking farmer performance over the years, documenting the ongoing activities in the field, etc.
Agro Eco was at the forefront of developing ICS and continues to invest in SIMS as a tool to monitor and increase the impact of its intervention. We assist grower groups to develop and maintain an ICS/SIMS, train the internal inspectors, and try to make the annually recurrent monitoring visits more interesting for the farmer.
Additional Livelihood Training
In our quest to improve on socioeconomic life of farmers in Ghana, aside training farmer on standard CCE training modules that all farmers are required to follow in order to become certified for UTZ and/or Rainforest Alliance, more advanced training modules are available where smaller farmer groups can improve their practices. These are needs and commitment based, i.e. there is a clearly expressed need and a commitment from the farmers – expressed for example in a monetary or in-kind contribution. The following are some of the interventions Agroeco undertaken in various project areas