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Care For Cocoa, Cocoa Will Care For You- Cocobod Chief Advises

The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo,  has hinted that  Cocobod’s School Feeding Secretariat and partners in the industry have firmed up modalities for a smooth take- off of the introduction of chocolate drinks into the School Feeding programme as a means of promoting the consumption of cocoa locally.

He made this known during a speech at the Jubilee Park, Sunyani as part of the activities marking this year’s Cocoa Producers’ Alliance Day.

The theme for the celebration is “Cocoa Production for Wealth and Health”.

“Since children in basic schools are in their formative years, we believe introducing them to cocoa consumption at this age would not only help them to develop a lasting taste for cocoa consumption, but stay healthier”.

He noted that to build a Ghana beyond aid,we need to grow what we eat,eat what we grow and export the excess to create wealth, adding that given the numerous benefits of cocoa, if we grow more of it,eat more of it and export the rest,we would create wealth as well as improve the health status of the populace, thus serving as a catalyst in our collective resolve to build a Ghana beyond aid.

According to the Chief Executive,he took over the affairs of Cocobod when the productivity of  cocoa farms were very low, below 400 kilos per hectare and farmers were discouraged to invest in their cocoa farms.

However, in consultation with government, Cocobod decided to implement the Productivity Enhancement Programme,(PEP’s) which included hand pollination, pruning,rehabilitation, irrigation, fertilizer application and disease and pest control.

Mr. Boahen further stated that “these have improved productivity of cocoa farms to current levels of 500 kilos per hectare, it is our objective to increase our productivity to at least,1,000 per hectare by 2021”.

The Chief Executive implored cocoa farmers to adhere strictly to  good agronomic practices and adopt the ( PEP’s), which will consequently facilitate sustainable increase in yields and improve farmer income.

Not all,he said the recent launch of the farmer co-operatives in the cocoa sector re-affirm Cocobod’s commitment to making farmer Co-operative a channel for the implementation of the PEP’s and spoke with the optimism that, farmers will join Co-operatives and play their roles in making such Co-operatives reliable and formidable.

Furthermore,the smooth talking Chief Executive announced that Cocobod is arranging with Licensed Buying Companies to acquire electronic weighing scales for cocoa purchases to curb the manipulation of scales by Purchasing Clerks to the detriment of farmers.

“We are reliably informed that such scales cannot be tampered with. We are confident the decision will lessen the extent of cheating perpetrated by purchasing clerks and guarantee farmers of their deserved income”.

On the rampant use of chemicals to control weeds, which has resulted in complaints by partners in the cocoa industry about  chemical residue in cocoa beans, Mr.Boahen- Aidoo declared that ” we have concluded on the purchase of motorised slashers for distribution through Farmer Co-operatives to farmers as part of the efforts to do away with the rampant use of harmful chemicals to control weeds on farms”.

He revealed that the government through Cocobod is cutting and treating cocoa trees diseased by  cocoa swollen shoot viral disease(CSSVD) through the rehabilitation programme, noting that the extent of devastation caused by the CSSVD is more than Cocobod was made to understand by statistics, especially, in the Western North Regions as a some communities have lost their entire cocoa landscape”.

” I commend the Sefwi Wiawso  Youth In Cocoa Production Cooperative for providing replanting services to farms under treatment.It was easier dealing with such a self sustaining Cooperative in the Region in the provision of those essential services”.

On Ghana’s effort to secure a fair and remunerative producer price income for farmers, Mr. Boahen- Aidoo  said, significant strides have been made, as the quest for buyers to pay a  Living Income Differential (LID) of

400 Dollars Per tonne of cocoa will provide a relief to the hard working cocoa farmer and bridge the income gap.

The Chief Executive lastly called on the collective support of players in the cocoa industry ie. Buyers, Traders, Agro dealers,Hauliers and our governments as Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire agree on the Living Income Differential as the most appropriate price mechanism for appropriate trade henceforth.

“This new and unprecedented trade arrangement has become necessary to provide a safeguard for farmers’ income,’ he concluded.

Cocoa Producer Price Up By 8.42 Percent

Government has announced a new producer price of cocoa for the 2019/2020 crop season from GH¢7,640 to GH¢8,240 per tonne.

The increment represents 8.42 per cent meaning that a bag (64kg) of cocoa beans would now be sold at GH¢515. Previously, a bag of cocoa was sold at GH¢475.

The Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, Dr Gyiele Nurah, who represented President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made the announcement at a durbar of chiefs and farmers in Sunyani yesterday.

Dr Nurah noted that despite falling price of cocoa at the world market, government deem it fit to announce the new price to cushion farmers.

He said, “Despite government inheriting a cocoa sector which was virtually on its knees, it has made significant strides to restore the sector back to its glory past.”

Dr Nurah stated that government would engage about 1,343 agriculture extension agents to offer extension services to cocoa farmers to boost production.

He advised farmers to join registered cooperatives so as to benefit interventions by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) such as distribution of fertilizer, and hybrid seedlings.

The Minister therefore urged the youth to take advantage of the numerous intervention in the cocoa sector to better their fortunes.

The CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said to help improve cocoa farming, government has imported 100,000 motorised slashers to be given to farmers at subsidised price.

The move, he said, was to discourage the use of weedicides and other uncertified chemicals to control weeds.

The COCOOD he noted, was in the process of introducing electronic weighing scales to check “cheating” of farmers by purchasing clerks of Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), adding that any LBC that will fail to comply with the new directive would not be allowed to purchase cocoa beans.

Mr Aidoo assured farmers that with the floor price which is expected to take effect in the 2020/2021 crop season, farmers would receive their fair share from the sale of cocoa.

The Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, said in the next farming season, smallholder farmers would be encouraged to expand their farms into cocoa plantations.

There were mixed reactions from the farmers after the announcement of the new cocoa price. A farmer, Margret Acheamponmaa said although she was expecting a higher price, she would accept the new price, hoping for better future as per the government’s promise.

Kwame Boateng, a farmer from the Ahafo area expressed disappointment with the new price, saying that looking at the long period that farmers had not enjoyed price increment, government could have considered that.

QCC (COCOBOD) Gets First Quality Accreditations Standard in West Africa.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Government of Ghana, Government of Switzerland and Quality Control Company Limited (QCC) on Tuesday 24th September launch a new country programme to improve trade quality and standards of cashew, oil palm and cocoa exports in Accra at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel.

The Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP) is an innovative programme developed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and UNIDO to address country-specific quality and standards compliance capacity challenges in partner countries to facilitate market access for SMEs in selected value chains. Today’s launch has made Ghana achieved yet another major milestone in cementing its position as the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa beans.

In addition to the launch of the program today, UNIDO also accredited QCC with two quality certificates meant for cocoa testing and inspection :

  1. ISO IEC 17020
  2. ISO IEC 17025.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Ebenezer Owusu, Chairman of the Board of Quantity Control Company, said COCOBOD was the first organization to attain the accreditations in the West African Sub-region.

Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Phillip Stalder, congratulated COCOBOD, saying these accreditations are achievements which mark a significant milestone for the Ghanaian cocoa industry.

He expressed the belief that with appropriate investment, the Ghanaian cocoa sector can do much better in the future.

He added that Switzerland will continue to support the Ghanaian cocoa industry.

Managing Director of QCC, Samuel Maxwell Nana Kakari Addo, outlined some benefits of the accreditations.

He stated it will lead to timely documentation of inspection data, adding that the accreditations have assured the global market of premium quality cocoa from Ghana.

Source: ISD

Cocoa farming now big earner

The acting Managing Director of the Quality Control Division of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Nana Karikari Addo, has encouraged educated unemployed youth to embark on cocoa farming.

He said the production of the crop was no more the preserve of the aged.

He said adequate measures, under the Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEP), had been put in place to boost the yield of cocoa in order to increase the income of farmers and make life easy for them.

Nana Addo said the cultivation of cocoa was now a business and those who ventured into it and adhered to the directions of the PEP would reap from their sweat and toil.

At a forum organised for cocoa farmers in the Asunafo North and Asunafo South districts in Goaso in the Ahafo Region to educate them about the number of interventions that had been put in place to boost the production of cocoa, Nana Addo asked the farmers to make use of the various extension officers sent to their farms to assist them to improve their level of productivity.

The PEP, he said, included the cutting of cocoa infected by diseases for free, payment for fertiliser bags in instalments, the implementation of artificial pollination and the provision of free seedlings to farmers.

The forum was also used to educate the farmers on the proper application of chemicals to treat their cocoa farms.

Nana Addo asked the farmers to use only chemicals that had been certified by COCOBOD since fake products could harm their farms.

He told the farmers that even though their children could assist them in farming, that should not be a hindrance to their education.

The Omanhene of the Goaso Traditional Area, Nana Kwasi Bosomprah, commended the government for the implementation of the flexible payment system for the purchase of fertiliser for the maintenance of cocoa farms.

He called on cocoa farmers to take advantage of the flexible fertiliser payment system to properly maintain their farms to improve their yields.

He asked them to adopt best and modern agronomic practices.

“It is better to have a small but well-maintained farm than a big farm which is not well-maintained,” he stated.

Nana Bosomprah also warned cocoa farmers against the use of children during school hours on their farms, explaining that such practices were not acceptable, both in Ghana and internationally.