The West Africa Fair Fruit (WAFF) is scaling up interventions to support women's groups in cocoa farming communities in the Ashanti region.

Barely two years into operations, the not-for-profit organisation, has roped in 300 smallholder farmers in the Ahafo Ano North and South districts to produce for the international market, under the UTZ certification brand.

General manager of WAFF, Hans Perk observed a rise in the number of farmers opting to be part of the certification programme and expects to increase the number to 1,000 by year-end.

The WAFF collaborates with Care International to ensure cocoa farmers and farm workers receive requisite skills and support for improved crop yield and enhanced livelihoods. Mr. Perk said it is essential for farmers to get together in groups in order to benefit from both local and international assistance.

"It is very hard to go to each individual farmer, so when the farmers get organised you have an entry point for inputs and training. This is very important for us. We are bringing in internal control systems. We are helping with organising the farmers and we are training them on social and environmental issues," he said at the inauguration of the Ahafo Ano North and South UTZ Cocoa Farmers Association.

Mr. Perk said there is high demand for certified cocoa on the international market. WAFF specialises in promoting responsible production and trade in fruit, cocoa and other commodities with the aim to strengthening sustainable agricultural and business practices which generate regular sources of income and employment.