- Sets nationwide implementation to Oct. 2021
- Over 120,000 cocoa farmers registered in Western South
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will start the collection of cocoa farmers data in the Ashanti Region after registering over 120, 000 cocoa farmers in ‘Western South’ cocoa area, the Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku has said.
The exercise which forms part of the Cocoa Management System (CMS) introduced to among others develop a comprehensive and reliable database of cocoa farms and farmers among others in the cocoa value chain is expected to be completed by a month’s time in the Region.
According to Dr. Opoku, there is a need to have a reliable database on the cocoa farming industry which will among others help in the effective planning of the work of COCOBOD. In this regard, the cocoa farmers census will involve the mapping of all cocoa farms gather biodata of cocoa farmers and their household as wells as all those in the cocoa farming value chain, of the country.
It will also enable farmers to be issued with ID cards after the enumerators or surveyors have captured all the necessary data required. The ID cards issued will henceforth be used to capture transactions of cocoa farmers, including the sale of cocoa beans and payments while additionally enabling COCOBOD to deepen cocoa traceability.
In an engagement with some members of the media, in Kumasi, ahead of the start of the exercise, Dr. Opoku explained that the successful completion of the ‘cocoa farmers census’ will enable COCOBOD to fully roll out the CMS by October 2021.
He, however, cautioned that the cocoa farmers are under no obligation to pay for the work that the enumerators will be doing and, therefore, appealed to the farmers to report anyone who demands money for the exercise.
Among the benefits of CMS, he said it will curb fraudulent activities and stealing of cocoa beans from cocoa farmers; promote cashless payment system for cocoa farmers; computerized the locations of all cocoa farms, and also prevent people from farming in protected forests.
Also, he observed that it will encourage local enterprise development like spraying services, pollinators, and others.
He particularly stressed that successful data-gathering exercise leading to the full implementation of CMS will help in the implementation of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme, launched last year.
It will be recalled that President Akufo-Addo said both the legal and technical framework of the scheme has been put in place for a smooth take-off of this all-important scheme. This, he said, guarantees a decent retirement income for cocoa farmers for life, and ensures they can maintain decent livelihoods after retirement – and therefore entreated all farmers to register in order to enjoy the full benefits of the scheme.
It is to ensure the scheme’s successful roll-out that COCOBOD began the collection of data on farmers for the Cocoa Management System (CMS) in earnest.
The CMS will hold a robust database of all cocoa farmers in the country and track their contributions. It will also facilitate the prompt payment of claims to beneficiary farmers. Cocoa farmers are therefore encouraged to register under the CMS in order to be part of the scheme.
Officials of COCOBOD at an engagement with the media in Kumasi ahead of the cocoa farmers census in the Ashanti Region.