Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary -General Ban Ki-moon and Director of the Earth Institute; Prof. Jeffrey Sachs has promised to help Ghanaian farmers live a meaningful life and have sustainable livelihoods.
Prof. Sachs who is in Ghana with his wife and a team of experts from two renowned universities in New York met Executives and members of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union(KKFU) in Kumasi Thursday to discuss their challenges and areas of possible partnerships.
Director of Health Services for KKFU; Dr. Fred Bedzrah in a presentation explained the proposed model KKFU seeks to implement to enable the farmers who mostly live in thick rain forests access good healthcare services. He also explained measures already put in place by the farmers towards the construction of health facilities and classroom blocks for their wards. Dr. Bedzrah explained that the fact that the farmers had already released their buildings, lands and are willing to put bags of cocoa beans towards some of these projects is a high indicator of their seriousness to improve their lives.
President of KKFU; Fatima Ali outlined some challenges the farmers faced and called for assistance from Prof. Sachs and his team. She complained about the harsh effects of Climate change that is causing their cocoa to get burnt and also raised a miriad of issues to do with gender, land tenure, health of farmers, education among others.
For his part, Prof. Sachs was happy that the need of the farmers coincided with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations and promised to help them overcome their challenges.
He asked for their specific needs to be itemized for his outfit’s perusal and stated that the areas of community health and teleMedicine were areas in which his outfit is very experienced and will therefore help with deployment of Community Health Workers and TeleMedical facilities. He also gave his word that he would help to ensure that children of the cocoa farmers all found their way to school.
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs who was Special Adviser to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is considering special educative computer programmes in Akan to enable farmers and their families learn in their own dialects
He says very soon, farmers in the isolated forests will not have to depend on the national grid for electricity but will have their local power grids.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the meeting.
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs is Co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and Director of the Millennium Villages Project. He is also Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Prof. Sachs played a major role in the formulation of the Millennium Development goals and is the brain behind a lot of the poverty alleviation funds available to Ghana and other parts of the world.