MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill now has its own licensed buying company, Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd., in Ghana that allows the Minneapolis-based company to directly source cocoa from certified farmers in Ghana.

Farmers deliver their cocoa to warehouses where their beans are weighed digitally and assigned a traceable bar code. Funds then are transferred to the farmer’s phone or e-wallet using e-money through partnerships with e-zwich, MTM Mobile Money and Tigo Mobile Money. The new bar code system allows Cargill to trace each individual bag of Ghanaian cocoa beans sourced through Cargill Kokoo Sourcing to the individual farm.

“Never before has it been more critical for cocoa farmers in Ghana to be the master of their own destiny and improve their own livelihoods,” said Lionel Soulard, managing director, West-Africa Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “With the introduction of an innovative digital payment system, or mobile money for short, this first-of-its kind initiative at scale in Ghana is creating a great opportunity for smallholder finance at the farm level.

“We strongly believe that this way of doing business is the future for cocoa farmers in Ghana. Mobile money is the first step toward improving incomes for farmers, as we build the infrastructure and capabilities for a more efficient and effective supply chain. Our aim is to create an enabling environment for smallholder finance for the future, resulting in better entrepreneurial spirit already noticeable at the farmer level.”

Cargill Kokoo Sourcing began operating last November. While more than 25,000 farmers in Ghana have registered, about 9,000 are pursuing selling beans through the Cargill Kokoo Sourcing network.

Cargill on April 11 of this year celebrated the opening of its licensed buying company. Such dignitaries as Hon. Carlos K. Ahenkorah, deputy minister for trade and industry in Ghana, and H.E. Robert P. Jackson, the ambassador of the United States to Ghana, attended the ceremony. Cargill has bought cocoa from Ghana for more than 40 years and opened a cocoa processing facility in Tema, Ghana, in 2008.