It is our pleasure at the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) to announce a new partnership with Netherlands based product certification firm UTZ, to help increase reportage on cocoa-related issues in the Ghanaian media.
UTZ is a nonprofit organisation that labels products that have met basic standards for sustainable farming. It is the largest program for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world. GARDJA, established in 2014 is an association of journalists and communicators working to prioritise issues of agric, environment and rural development in the media.
On Thursday 7th December 2017, GARDJA executives and UTZ officials finalized a project deal worth thousands of Euros that will see the latter provide support to us to help prioritise cocoa industry issues within the media space.
Cocoa is Ghana’s key agricultural crop. It helps the country generate roughly $1.5 billion in foreign exchange annually and employs about 2 million people including more than 720,000 cocoa farm owners. The sustainability of the sector is being impacted negatively by climate change, child labour, aging farmers, poverty in cocoa growing communities among others which need to be tackled. Such issues deserve much more attention than they are getting now and it is about time that the voices of farmers are heard more loudly on them. That is exactly what this partnership seeks to do.
UTZ will provide resources to help build the capacity of over 200 Ghanaian journalists on cocoa sustainability and other key issues in the sector. UTZ will also be providing necessary funding for journalists who are members of the association to investigate and produce more in-depth stories about the sector.
As issues of cocoa sustainability become more topical, we hope this will encourage the formulation of policies in favour of a more sustainable cocoa value chain. The project will also see the organisation of Cocoa Dialogue Series during which the media will have the opportunity to quiz sector officials on various policies being implemented to ensure a sustainable cocoa value chain. It is our hope this project will help transform the cocoa sector for the better over the next one year and make Ghana a better place.
Richmond Frimpong Joseph Opoku Gakpo
President, GARDJA Deputy General Secretary, GARDJA
Download the statement below