In another first for the African Fellowship Programme, a group of 10 Ghanaian students from the Institute of Renewable Energy Resources and the Kwame Kkrumah University of Science and Technology will take part in ‘Cocoa Farming and Biodiversity in Ghana' later this month.
The project aims to investigate the feasibility and potential of cocoa production in a biologically diverse environment, re-establishing farming and enhancing biodiversity on abandoned cocoa farms. It is also hoped that the initiative will improve farmers' incomes through increased productivity and farm tourism. 20 Cadbury Schweppes employees from 14 countries will join research teams later in the year.Earthwatch (Europe) has announced that it will partner with Cadbury Schweppes and the Ghana Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) to initiate a three year project to improve biodiversity levels of cocoa farms in Ghana and establish the country's first cocoa farm eco-tourism initiative.
This pioneering research is a partnership initiative between Earthwatch, Cadbury Schweppes, the Nature Conservation Research Centre and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, and will be led by Dr Kwasi Ofori-Frimpong. The project aims to investigate the feasibility and potential of cocoa production in a biologically diverse environment, re-establishing farming and enhancing biodiversity on abandoned cocoa farms.
The project is based in the Eastern region of Ghana, a traditional cocoa growing area, will encourage new farming methods to support the production of quality cocoa beans for future generations. In particular, the project aims to re-establish cocoa on land once used to grow the crop. Farmers are encouraged to grow cocoa in a more ecologically balanced environment that provides a diversified habitat for birds and other wildlife and which increases cocoa yield and boosts farmers' long term financial security. The project also takes the first practical step towards demonstrating the reality of the cocoa farm eco-tourism concept in the country, which will take advantage of the million visitors Ghana receives each year, and should provide an additional revenue stream for farmers and their communities.
Earthwatch manages the partnership between Cadbury Schweppes and NCRC and co-ordinate teams of international volunteers who will collect data to measure the impact of new farming methods and join Ghanaian research staff in the field. Cadbury Schweppes will provide financial support and offer its employees the opportunity to volunteer on the project. The funding from Cadbury Schweppes allows the team of Ghanaian students to take part and gain practical field experience. The NCRC is dedicated to promoting community-led eco-tourism and will work closely with local farmers and institutions, such as the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) to establish the research project and a cocoa farm tourism initiative.
Dr Roger Mitchell, Director of Research and Education at Earthwatch, said: ' The increasing extension of land for farming, together with the general intensification of agriculture, poses one of the greatest threats to biodiversity worldwide'.
John J. Mason, Executive Director for NCRC, Accra, Ghana, further comments, ‘This project is an innovative approach to cocoa farming. It aims to develop a new revenue stream - a cocoa farm eco-tourism venture - and place it into the hands of rural cocoa farmers who are prepared to use new growing methods and improve biodiversity levels on their farms'.
The project is supported by the Cadbury Schweppes Foundation, the company's registered charity, which as part of its Africa Aid programme, wanted to develop an environmental project consistent with broader business needs, in this case ensuring the protection of ecosystems that provide the company with vital raw materials.
Cadbury Schweppes' relationship with Ghana began in 1908 when the Cadbury brothers helped set up the cocoa farming industry. Over the years the company has worked with farmers to help them and their communities. Today Cadbury in the UK still buys all its cocoa beans from Ghana.
Matthew Litobarski, President, Global Supply Chain, Cadbury Schweppes says, ‘This project has many opportunities. It develops our long term relationships with the cocoa farmers in Ghana, it helps to protect the local biodiversity and it aims to improve the livelihoods of the farmers upon whom we rely to provide us with the best quality cocoa beans. It also allows our colleagues in Cadbury Schweppes to become involved with activities that will give them new skills and knowledge which we hope will be used to further progress the protection of
For more information on the Earthwatch African Fellowship Programme, go to: www.earthwatch.org/europe/fellowships/africa.html.
- Cadbury Schweppes Cadbury Schweppes is a major global group which manufactures, markets and distributes branded beverages and confectionery products around the world. With origins stretching back over 200 years, today Cadbury Schweppes' products - which include brands such as Cadbury, Schweppes, Halls, Trident, Dr Pepper, Snapple, Trebor, Dentyne, Bubblicious and Bassett - are enjoyed in almost every country around the world. In 2004, Cadbury Schweppes was voted Britain's most admired company by its peers. It is number one in sugar and functional confectionery, a strong number two in gum and the world's third largest soft drinks group.
- Cadbury Schweppes Foundation was founded in 1935 and primarily focuses on UK programmes, but occasionally supports international programmes. Recently the Foundation developed the Africa Aid initiative, which will represent 15% of the Foundation's funds from 2004. Africa Aid's core areas of investment are: education and enterprise, health and welfare and environment.
- As part of its commitment in Ghana, Cadbury Schweppes has established a well building programme to provide clear fresh water. The programme has built over 200 water wells for cocoa farming communities, in addition to enhancing local infrastructure.
- Cadbury Schweppes has been a member of Earthwatch's Corporate Environmental Responsibility Group (CERG) for nearly 10 years.
- The organisation was formed in early 1996 as a result of inspiration from Dr. Jane Goodall to John Mason to form a new conservation organization in West Africa as there were so few active groups. It has grown to be the largest NGO conservation group in Ghana and one of the largest in the sub-region.
- NCRC is a registered non-profit organization in Ghana which is governed by a 9 member Board of Directors. The Board meets 3 times a year to steer the organization's affairs. NCRC has its head office in Tesano, Accra and local offices in Ho, Volta Region and Bolgatanga, Upper East Region. It is opening a new local office in Techiman, Brong-Ahafo Region in 2004.
- The Centre has 25 Ghanaian staff and 12 international staff including seconded staff from zoological societies and volunteer organizations.
- NCRC is the leading organization (including governmental and non-governmental) in Ghana developing ecotourism destinations in rural communities (14 to date).
For further information contact:
For press information please contact Zoe Gamble, Press Officer, Earthwatch. + 44 (0) 1865 318852 / email@example.com or Cadbury Schweppes press office +44 (0) 207 830 5011