By Adu Koranteng
Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has maintained the producer price of Cocoa for the 2018 2019 cocoa season at GHC7, 600 cedis per ton and ghc475 cedis per 64.5 kilogram bag of cocoa, despite the fall in cocoa price on the international market.
This was announced by the Minister of Agric, Dr Owusu Akoto Afriyie at this year’s cocoa day celebration held at the forecourt of the state House in Accra.
The bean over past two years has reduced from about $3,000 to around $1,900 a tonne, which has resulted in the country losing almost $1 billion in revenue during that period.
Dr Akoto Afriyie expressed worry about the high price of chocolate and some cocoa products that are produced in Ghana, which makes it difficult for Ghanaians to patronize. “I urge local chocolate and milo producers to be innovative and develop quality products at cheaper price for all to patronize.
Addressing the gathering at the special event, The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo said the state agency has made tremendous progress in its productive enhancement Programs (PEPS”. “The combined effects of the mass pruning, hand pollination, fertilizer application, mass spraying and other interventions we initiated have been very marvelous. For instance, traditionally, COCOBOD begins its spraying of insects of cocoa in august each year. However, following a recommendation from the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) regarding bimodal population increase of the pests (mirids), the spraying model has been changed.”
“:during the year under review, myself and some members of my management team took some time off our busy schedules to visit cocoa farms in most of the cocoa regions to familiarize ourselves and obtain first-hand information on how farmers are adopting and implementing the PEPS. We were amazed at the impacting of the initiatives we have rolled out. At a pollinated cocoa farm at Chirano in the Bibiani Cocoa District of the Western North Region, owned by one Gilbert Gyamprah, a 39 year old farmer, we were greeted with an extraordinary pollinated cocoa tree which had between 200-350 pods”, he revealed.
“ My conviction during and after the tour was that if cocoa farmers across the country will collaborate with our extension officers ;adhere to good agronomic practices,(GAPS) ,And adopt the PEPS including significantly from the current average 450kg per acre to over 1,000kg”, he stated .
“As we work assiduously to increase productivity per acre ,also very critical to the sector and incomes of farmers have been the need to aggressively address the dangerous threat posed by the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease(CSSVD).field surveys identified the western and eastern cocoa regions as the two most highly endemic areas in the country. In the western and eastern region for instance where the disease has become a cross border issue between Ghana and cote D’Ivoire ,both countries collectively launched a back –to back joint action to kick start a programme to cut and rehabilitate some 680,000 and 100,000 hectares of disease cocoa farms in the two countries over time“.
Ghana and cote d’Ivoire which control about 60% of the global cocoa stock ,have in recent times ,strengthened cooperation in an effort to streamline marketing, economics production and research activities of cocoa to enable both countries reap the full benefits of trading in the crop .in a recent communique issued jointly by the two countries in Africa ,a joint action plan which commits both Ghana cocoa board and the Le Conseil Du Café –Cacao to implement common programme to prompt domestic processing and consumption of cocoa in their respective countries is expected to help promote growth in the sector and also restore the dwindling fortunes of the cocoa in our respective countries .
“following governments drive to increase local processing of cocoa, some investors have signed onto the initiative .discussions with some Chinese business investors are underway as interest in setting up a cocoa processing company in the Western Region is high .China offers a big market for cocoa confectioneries and related products and we are collaborating with them in this regard,” he noted.
“We are celebrating this year’s cocoa day with special emphasis on the health benefits of cocoa and business opportunities within the national cocoa consumption agenda. We have said on different occasions that cocoa contains essential nutrients and flavonoids which boost vitality, cognitive development, blood circulation and general well-being.it is in this regard that we are still encouraging the citizenry to consume cocoa regularly .as consumption increases ,business will also flourish to boost economic growth. , COCOBOD and government are close to rolling the inclusion of chocolate drinks in the school feeding programme as directed by His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo .we still in constant stakeholders to conclude on modalities for the programme” he added .