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Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has launched the 2022 Cocoa Day celebration, earmarking a series of events which will end with a grand durbar at Suhum in the Eastern Region; the host town for this year’s celebration.
The occasion was also used to deliver a lecture to mark the 75th Anniversary of COCOBOD.
Launching the celebration, Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, who read a speech read on behalf of, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, acknowledged the pioneering role of the founding fathers of the cocoa sector, particularly, Tetteh Quarshie whose impeccable contribution, he noted, accelerated commercial production of cocoa in Ghana.
He said the theme for the celebration, “[email protected]: Sustaining Our Environment, Wealth and Health” is a challenging theme that epitomizes the policy direction of the Board to protect the cocoa economy by securing sustainable farming practices alongside boosting domestic cocoa consumption.
The cocoa sector, he said, yet remains attractive and promising, following the major strategic programmes introduced to increase productivity, enhanced the welfare and living standards of cocoa farmers and support the growth of domestic cocoa processing and value-addition.
“The hand pollination, rehabilitation of cocoa farms, irrigation, pruning, and subsidized fertilizer programmes have positively influenced our production patterns over the past few years and as we scale up these initiatives in the coming year, we will have stability in our production levels”, the deputy minister said.
Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in his statement said the Living Income Differential (LID) continues to be the best pricing mechanism to regulate cocoa prices and cushion cocoa farmers against price volatility and external shocks to the cocoa industry.
He said making the cocoa industry more vibrant requires that farmers are properly remunerated. It is in that regard that in the 2020/2021 crop year, the government through COCOBOD increased the producer price per tonne of cocoa from Gh¢8,240 to as high as Gh¢10,560, representing a 29% increase amidst the ravages posed by the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses globally.
He, however, mentioned that the cocoa sector is still adversely impacted by the knock-on effect of Covid-19, hence, the Board and Management of COCOBOD have adopted stringent internal reforms to control expenditures, cut cost and reduce debt levels drastically.
Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, who delivered the 75th Anniversary lecture, called on the management of COCOBOD to restructure and retool the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) to make it the leading cocoa research institution in Africa.
He noted that the sustenance and improvement of Ghana’s cocoa industry will largely depend on CRIG’s research capacity, and added that there is the need to invest heavily in the institution and tasked to conduct research into every aspect of cocoa production and related issues which confront the industry.
The solution to the current problems bedevilling the cocoa industry in the country is that “we need new approaches to cocoa production and value addition in the face of current climate change issues [and] wanton destruction of land and water bodies”, he said.
Prof. Owusu proposed a ramping up of efforts by COCOBOD to attract the youth into cocoa farming, invite private investments into local value addition and encourage domestic consumption of cocoa.
Meanwhile, the 2022 Cocoa Day celebration will begin on Saturday, 24th September 2022 with a health walk to be held concurrently in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Takoradi for staff of COCOBOD and the general public.
On 28th September 2022, there will also be a float on some principal streets at Suhum and later, a 4-day exhibition by cocoa and chocolate producers, agrochemical and input suppliers, financial institutions, and NGOs, among others, will be officially opened at 10a.m at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior High School, Park, Suhum in the Eastern Region.
A forum on sustainable cocoa production and a cocoa quiz competition will be held the following day. Again, four selected Senior High Schools from the Region will take part in an Inter SHS Cocoa Football Gala Competition on Friday, 30th September 2022. Later that evening there will be a Cocoa Night Concert.
The climax will be a Grand Durbar at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior High School Park on Saturday, October 1.
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