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Global Cocoa Demand and MEDA's Response
Part One of a Two-Part Series on our new FEATS Project in Ghana.
Roaming the aisles of the grocery store, one might not expect to find a chocolate bar or shea lotion sitting next to a collection of crisp apples. However, these products unsuspectingly originate from fruit trees just like their apple relatives. Residing on the West African coast, Ghana’s tropical climate allows for cocoa, shea, rubber and cashew trees to thrive, creating an essential export for the country and providing market opportunities for farmers.
In addition, Ghana’s geographical location allows for impeccable access to local and international trade due to its many sea-side ports. One of Ghana’s main export crops is cocoa; therefore, cocoa farmers depend on the success of their crops to provide for their families. In fact, about 1.6 million Ghanaian families depend on tree crops for their livelihoods. Likewise, international trade depends on farmers to supply high quality goods for export to larger markets. Many parties depend on this cycle of trade and production to maintain individual and communal standards for living.
With annual demand for cocoa expected to increase, farmers are optimistic about the success of their crops. However, production will most likely drop due to aging trees and poor crop management. MEDA’s Farmers’ Economic Advancement Through Seedlings or FEATS Project in Ghana provides tree crop farmers with increased access to quality seedlings, finance, as well as the training and resources they need to create a high-quality competitive product that they can sell for a premium. Using this market-based approach, MEDA works to help increase crop yields and quality in an environmentally sustainable manner that will provide greater income for their families.
Stay tuned for Part Two!