Cocoa groups debut mobile phone program

by Eric Schroeder
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ACCRA, GHANA — The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), The Hershey Co. and the World Cocoa Foundation (W.C.F.) have launched “CocoaLink — Connecting Cocoa Communities.” The program will use mobile technology to connect cocoa farmers with information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labor, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production and crop marketing.

The information will be available at no charge through voice and text messages delivered in local languages or English.

“Harnessing emerging technology that directly benefits farmers and their communities will dramatically accelerate the flow of information to the cocoa regions,” said Andy McCormick, vice-president of Hershey. “Because any Ghanaian farmer with a mobile phone can sign up for CocoaLink, we expect more than 100,000 cocoa farmers and their families to benefit from this program during the next three years.”

Ghana, which has more than 700,000 cocoa farmers, has mobile phone coverage across approximately 85% of its geography, and recent studies estimate that more than 65% of Ghana’s rural residents have access to mobile phones.

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