The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has announced a fresh international partnership to boost media reportage on the cocoa industry.
The group has signed a deal with Netherlands based product certification firm UTZ to train journalists so they can better report on the cocoa industry. The deal will also see UTZ support journalists with funding to produce cocoa industry centred stories.
“On December 7, 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,” a statement from the association said.
Below is the full statement from the group.
GARDJA COLLABORATES WITH UTZ TO INCREASE MEDIA REPORTAGE ON COCOA INDUSTRY
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 runs the largest certification program in the world for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa. GARDJA is an association of journalists and communicators working to prioritise issues of agriculture, environment and rural development in the media. On December 7, 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. Sustainability of the sector is being impacted negatively by climate change, child labour, ageing 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 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.