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Cocoa farmers tour Cadbury factory as part of sustainability scheme

The visit forms part of the company’s work in Ghana, from where cocoa for Cadbury chocolate has come for more than a century.

Cocoa farmers from Ghana have been given a glimpse of how their product turns into chocolate in the UK as part of a scheme to boost the sustainability of the supply chain.

The visitors from the west African country were given a tour of the Bournville factory, home of Cadbury, seeing how chocolate was prepared from cocoa beans, and products such as Roses and Dairy Milk bars were manufactured and packaged.

They were also given the opportunity to try their hand at chocolate-making in the “innovation kitchen”, part of the 250-people strong research and development unit where chocolate is invented.

The visit forms part of the company’s work in Ghana, from where cocoa for Cadbury chocolate has come for more than a century and where farmers are being helped to boost their yields and profits as part of the Cocoa Life sustainability scheme.

The programme, which partners with Fairtrade to verify farmers get a fair deal, is also funding community initiatives ranging from giving children bicycles to get to school to helping develop other businesses such as bakeries and soap-making.

It is part of a 400 million US dollar (£310 million) investment over 10 years in six countries by Cadbury-owner Mondelez International to secure future cocoa supplies,which are threatened by young people leaving the sector and climate change.

The farmers said they would be encouraged to share what they had seen with their fellow cocoa growers back in Ghana.

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Cocoa beans in the Bournville factory (Marie Hill/PA )

Ohene Boafo, a cooperative union president and cocoa farmer who has seen yields improve dramatically in the last few years, said: “It’s really amazing, because I’ve seen what the cocoa is used for, I’ve seen how it’s manufactured.

“I’ve really enjoyed the visit, it’s good to see the thing we’ve produced.

“I will go back and educate my colleague farmers to prepare their farms well, to increase their farm size, to produce more cocoa.”

Yaa Amekudzi, country lead for Cocoa Life in Ghana, described the visit as “overwhelming”.

“You’re used to seeing your cocoa, you see the beans leaving the farm and then you see the end products on the shop shelf and you enjoy consuming the end products.

“Now I’ve seen all the work that goes into it, that goes into taking the bean, cleaning, taking away the husk, so many processes before it becomes chocolate, and how it’s being wrapped and boxed.

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Chocolate bars on the production line (Marie Hill/PA)

“It makes you appreciate the chocolate, actually to see the long process, to see that the beans end up in the factory and chocolates or cocoa products are made.

“It’s encouraging to take the stories back to the farms.”

She said Cocoa Life was empowering farmers in Ghana, training them in good agriculture and environmental practices and addressing community issues and delivering opportunities such as better education for the children.

“If you are able to deliver all these things, it will see transformational change that these farmers need. All these farmers that we are working with have seen a transformation,” she said.

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