The Produce Monitoring Board in its quest to improve on the dissemination of market information and the marketing capacity of our local Producer Organizations (POs), Cooperatives and smallholder cocoa farmers to make them more responsive to the challenges of the volatile commodity market, recently hosted the Final Workshop of the Price Risk Management (PRM) Strategy for Smallholder Cocoa Farmers in Africa, on the 21st of February 2017, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown.
- The main objective of the project was to equip smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa with the instrument and local capacity needed to put in place well designed and integrated measures to manage their exposure to the risks associated with the commodity market, guarantee better production and stable price, understand the elements to consider while going into business agreements to achieve maximum benefit, achieve a more suitable long term outlook for the cocoa producing West African countries , even in the event where the world market price for cocoa is volatile or fluctuating.
The project was funded by the International Cocoa Organization and the Common Fund for Commodity (CFC) for four (4) beneficiary West African cocoa producing countries-namely Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo.
The Project was divided into the following components and was implemented independently in the respective beneficiary countries:
Component 1 – Awareness Rising,
Component 2 – Training of Trainers of Trainees for 20 Local experts and
Component 3 – Rollout Training for 75 participants from POs and cooperatives in all the
major cocoa producing districts in the country – Kono, Kailahun and Kenema.
Component 4 – The Final Workshop
Prior to implementing component one of the project, a Situation Analysis Survey was conducted, which laid the road map for implementation in the country. The aim of the Final Workshop was to bring together representatives from all the participating beneficiary countries in a single venue to discuss issues relating to price volatility, produce sales on discount and the development of smallholder cocoa farmers in the beneficiary countries.
The forum was also designed for participants to share their experiences (results) on the implementation of their local PRM strategy within their various entities, and to proffer measures that will empower the stakeholders, especially the smallholder cocoa farmers to mitigate the adverse consequences of any fluctuations in the world market price for cocoa. This segment of the workshop was facilitated by the Project Manager of Twin, Suzzane Fogg.
The program was chaired by the Acting Executive Director of the Produce Monitoring Board (PMB), Mrs Haja Isatu Kabba, the keynote address of the occasion was given by the Honourable Minster of Trade and Industry (MTI), Captain Momodu Alieu Pat-Sow and the Guest of Honour of the workshop was the Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), Dr. Jean Marc Anga. The Chief Director MTI, Mr. Marywhether C. Thompson read the speech sent by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), as the organization was not represented in the workshop.
The Honourable Minister, in his keynote address emphasized the ministry’s role in providing the level playing field for Pos, cooperatives, farmers and agro-businesses to thrive in the produce sector of the Sierra Leone. He furthered that through several projects including the Agriculture for Development project, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) have been working together to help farmers form cooperatives and Agricultural Business Centers (ABCs) and also provide the necessary support for them to be able to compete with other businesses in the commodity market.