Ghana is the world’s second-largest cocoa production country, producing around 800,000 tons of Forastero cocoa annually – almost 20% of the world’s harvest. Most of the cocoa is produced by small farmers cultivating areas of just two to three hectares. It is estimated that cocoa cultivation provides a livelihood for around 1 million Ghanaian households.
Ghana is our largest cocoa bean origin, and the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program has been active in the country since 2008. Today, our Program reaches 64,406 farmers. Most of the population in Ghana has access to electricity with a national electrification rate of 84%. However,1.3 million households, mainly in rural areas, still remain without electricity. Poor access to affordable and sustainable technologies for lighting is a major obstacle to rural development in West Africa. Improvement of community infrastructure such as electricity and access to these infrastructures are integral part of our Farming Program to improve the lives of cocoa farmers.
In 2021, we were able to start realizing one of the many community development projects close to our hearts. Over 69,000 solar lights of the type SM100 are being deployed to the homes of our Farming Program farmers in 50 cocoa farming districts where we operate the Program in collaboration with our implementation partners. Many of these district areas are without access to the electricity grid or available electricity service is not reliable.
Solar power is an incredible opportunity. Solar can light up inaccessible, off-grid areas. And sunshine is something that Ghana has in abundance. Solar light is a powerful tool for cocoa farmers and can be used for all sorts of tasks and activities. From being a reading or studying light for children after dark, to a bike light for cyclists getting home from a late-night community meeting. Not only are they completely safe, without the dangers of open flame lighting, they also help to cut down on the amount of carbon emissions from fossil fuel-based lighting by bringing an additional, clean light source into the household. A full day's charging in the sun will provide enough light for a whole night.
Doris Mensah, a farmer from Tepa who lives in one of the 1,243 Ghanaian societies that benefitted from this distribution, emphasizes “we are no longer worried about darkness on days when we have to get home late, and my children now have a better source of light to learn in the evening.”
Doris Mensah and her children studying in the evening (photo credits Namene Solar)
What is the SM100 Solar Light?
SM100 by Namene Solar is a high quality entry-level solar light that provides reliable power and lighting solution to empower people, homes and businesses that have little to no access to electricity. It is featured with solar panels on the back and is a light-weighted robust light. Versatile and flexible this multi-use solar light offers strap holes for head torch and bike use with +4 hours bright task light or +10 hours ambient light battery range. The lights directly contribute towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by contributing to cutting carbon emissions, lessening the cost of kerosene fuel for lighting.
Namene Solar Managing Director Patrick Lagrange emphasizes: “We are delighted to work with Lindt & Sprüngli to provide truly affordable solar light to some of Ghana’s cocoa farmers. We hope that other manufacturers will follow this example of sustainable business leadership.”
The SM100 solar light has won several awards including, the European Design Award, and been named one of the Solar Impulse Foundation’s 1,000 efficient solutions to climate change.
Community members on the way home in the evening (photo credits Namene Solar)