As a part of the implementation of Farmer-Focused Transformation, Agriterra Ghana supports the Wassa East Cooperative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union limited (WECU) towards the ambition of becoming a farmer-led cocoa beans aggregator by 2025. On the path towards achieving its Big Hairy Ambitious Goal, WECU strengthened its governance model with the establishment of a Youth Council as a new body internal to the cooperative. This youth council is made up of 80 members and includes 57 men and 23 women.
Located in the Daboase, a town in the Western Region of Ghana, WECU was established by cocoa farmers in the district with the support of Mondelez International in 2011. Hence their core business is the production of cocoa beans and supplying some part to Mondelez.
WECU has about 3000 members and more than 90% of them are old people. The age of most of the cocoa farmers affect the implementation of various farm maintenance activities such as pruning, weeding, harvesting, spraying and many more, which is vigorous, thus require a lot of energy, which is difficult for the older cocoa farmers. There has been a need for a youthful generation to provide these services and also, to be involved in the cooperative space for the sustainability of the cooperative union.
Thus, Agriterra organised an in-take meeting to understand the status of youth in the cooperative union and the willingness of the organisation to mentor and give space to the youth to become fully involved in the cooperative activities. This meeting was followed by a Kick-Off Workshop organised by Agriterra’s Cooperative Advisors and the support of an Agripool expert from Uganda, Ruth Namaganda. The Kick-Off Youth Workshop was held for the cooperative union to have a discussion with the board, management and the young people on how to create space within the union for the youth to learn how to be leaders and execute services in the form of youth projects for the cooperative.
During the workshop, the youth learned about various ways they could become involved in the cooperative space and how the cooperative board and management could also provide opportunities to the young people. At the end of the workshop, the youth from WECU developed an action plan with the support of Agriterra’s Cooperative Advisors for the next 6 months. Their actions were:
The results were duly achieved after 6 months.
Further down the line, the participants of the Kick-Off Youth Workshop were invited to the Annual General Assembly Meeting to share some takeaways from the activities organised by Agriterra. Executives for the youth council were elected based on the Cooperative Bylaws. Accordingly, the cooperative union youth council is now composed of 9 elected executives.
The WECU Youth Council were also trained in organic composting by Ebenezer Kabutey, a local Agripool expert. For the upcoming year, the youth has developed their annual plan to continue with the project of expanding and commercially producing organic fertiliser.