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Improved Livelihood Equals Educated Children
Written By: Priscilla Sogah
For most farmers in rural Ghana, paying the school fees for five children is a rare privilege. However for smallholder farmers from communities that are supported by CARE and Cargill now take pride in their ability to provide an education for their children. And, they are excited about their improved livelihood as a result of increased income.
Kweku Osei, a 58 year old cocoa farmer at Kotei Nkwanta in the Ahafo Ano North District of Ghana is one of these proud fathers who has seen three of his daughters be educated through senior high school as well as two sons who are currently in their second and third years of junior high school.
According to Kweku, before the Cargill-CARE intervention, he harvested between three to five bags of cocoa beans each season. Five years on, his production has increased to 30 bags per cocoa season.
“My income has increased and I have sufficient money each day to meet the family needs,” Kweku said.
As we walked through his farm, Kweku talked about how the program provided him with hands-on training on demonstration farms which helped him to improve his knowledge of good agronomic practices and enabled him to diversify his income source.
Due to the increasing impact of El Nino on farmers in most part of the world, CARE as part of the Cargill –General Mills Intervention is promoting alternative livelihood. This intervention, enables cocoa farmers to venture into mixed cropping as a way of increasing farmer income and securing their nutrition and food needs.
Kweku, a cocoa farmer now intercrops to meet his family’s dietary needs. He explained this technique: “I cultivate plantain, cassava and pawpaw in addition to cocoa farming. After the cocoa season, the other crops give me additional income.”
In addition, Kweku has gained financial literacy and has a newly positive attitude for saving money thanks to his participation in a Village Savings and Loan Association program.
“My membership and daily contributions with the Kotei Nkwanta Village Savings and Loans Association have also secured my access to funds whenever in need,” he said.
Indeed, cocoa farmers in rural Ghana are reaping the benefits of their hard labour with the support of the Cargill-General Mills-CARE intervention.