In Ghana and Liberia, our farmer associations have started to build their own cluster centers instead of hiring. A cluster center functions as a central place to teach staff and farmers about conservation issues and other developments within the association.
Next to the warehouse there is a farmer shop and a training center where farmers can buy protective clothes, agro-storage boxes, boots, solar lamps and solar cells to recharge mobile phones. If members are not able to buy obligatory protection items they can receive these on credit.
At the cluster centers, yellow containers are placed as a central disposal unit. All farmers must dump their empty jars and cans from the crop protection products in these containers. This prevents for example the re-use of these jars for carrying drinking water. Minimum requirement of the UTZ certification is that burying waste on the farm is prohibited. The association goes beyond the certification requirement and can assure the safe decomposition of chemical waste.
Up to the beginning of 2013, seven cluster centers were constructed. In the near future the associations will build more than fifty cluster centers.
By 2016, all farmer areas should have their own cluster center. All warehouses are equipped with calibrated scales. This frees our farmers from the often inaccurate scales in the LBC warehouses. The calibrated scales can only be used by our own association members which is a powerful motivation for farmers to participate. Other advantages of having our own warehouses is that our warehouse keeper can separate cocoa in conventional, traceable and certified piles.