Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is poised to achieve one million metric tonnes cocoa production earlier than the expected five-year target due to various innovations the new management is implementing, Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah, Deputy Chief Executive, Cocobod has said.
According to Dr. Ampomah, since last year the new management – which has started implementing various innovative interventions targeted at significantly improving crop yields – also started charting a new course that will hit the one million tonnes within the five-year targetted period.
“Achieving one million metric tonnes of cocoa beans is obviously going to impact significantly on the socio-economic conditions of the rural farmers,” said Dr. Ampomah at a Ghana Cocoa Platform validation workshop aimed at soliciting ideas from sector stakeholders toward reintroduction of the Ghana Cocoa Platform.
The workshop brought together various actors in the cocoa value chain, and notable among them were the cocoa fertiliser suppliers, farmers, agronomists, exporters and buyers.
Ghana produced an unprecedented one million tonnes of cocoa during the 2010-11crop-year, thanks to good weather and improved farming techniques – but production declined to about 850,000 tonnes during the same period last season.
The country operates a two-cycle cocoa year consisting of the 33-week main crop (October-June) that is mainly exported to Europe and Asia, and a minor light crop (11-week) which is discounted to local processing firms including the state-owned Cocoa Processing Company (CPC).
Dr. Ampomah indicated that reintroduction of the Cocoa Platform will go a long way in ensuring the crop is produced in a more efficient and sustainable manner which will position the crop’s production value chain more profitably and increase yields while reducing wastage in the sector.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, explained that as part of the drive to significantly raise the nation’s cocoa production level to the targetted 1million tonnes, COCOBOD has introduced various interventions including hand pollination, pruning, codapec among others.
He mentioned that the pollination, combined with fertiliser application and the cocoa farms irrigation project is likely to restore cocoa production – adding that through artificial pollination, per hectare yield of the crop could hit two tonnes from the current average of 400 kilogrammes the farmers are getting.
Mr. Aidoo indicated that – although the world cocoa market price has not been stable for some time – COCOBOD has put in place measures to ensure that remunerative farm-gate prices are paid to farmers in an effort to motivate them, improve their livelihoods and sustain production.
He stated that the move will help curb the menace of illegal small scale mining and other issues currently confronting the cocoa sector.
Commenting on reintroduction of the Cocoa Platform, Mr. Aidoo explained that the Ghana Cocoa Platform is back to help boost crop production and urged promoters to place cocoa farmers at the forefront of the industry.
He indicated that the sustainability and success of the country’s cocoa industry depends largely on the farmer, adding that the new cocoa platform will help promote public/private partnerships which will promote stakeholder engagement.
Richard Scobey, President of World Cocoa Foundation, called for collective dialogue among industry players to help solve the numerous challenges facing the country’s cocoa sector.
“No individual idea can solve the myriad of problems alone, as this can be done only through collaborations and partnerships,” he said.