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Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (SWISSCO) have taken steps to strengthen existing bilateral relations in the cocoa sector through a joint programme aimed at promoting sustainability within the value chain.
The two organisations, which play vital roles in the international cocoa and chocolate market, have been collaborating for years on various projects of bilateral interest. The latest is an agreement to collaboratively address six crucial factors that tend to undermine efforts to promote a sustainable cocoa value chain.
At a meeting held in Accra, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo and the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Simone Giger, who led a team from SWISSCO, both underscored the commitment of the respective organisations in the joint effort to address the challenges in the cocoa value chain.
Hon Aidoo said the policies of Ghana on cocoa align with the global common agenda to mainstream sustainable practises at every level of the value chain, hence, the development of the Cocoa Management System (CMS).
The CMS, he said, cures the challenge of a lack of credible data on farmers and will serve as a reliable mechanism to monitor activities from pre-production to post-production. It will aid in the effective application of incentives to guide farmers toward more and more sustainable practices.
Hon Aidoo added that the CMS will also enable the effective monitoring of the government and COCOBOD’s zero-tolerance stance on child labour, the use of weedicides on cocoa farms and deforestation, all of which are inimical to sustainability. Moreover, it will improve transparency and enable the traceability of cocoa beans from farm to port.
The CMS must, therefore, be seen as a sign of Ghana’s preparedness to pursue development sustainably under the guiding principle that development must satisfy present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, Hon Aidoo said.
It is for this reason that other countries and stakeholders in the international cocoa trading arena need to demonstrate commitment to tackling challenges within the industry, including addressing the environmental, economic and social issues that affect sustainable cocoa production, Hon Aidoo noted. Adding that, every stakeholder stands to lose if these challenges are not addressed.
On her part, the Swiss Ambassador, Simone Giger, said she was pleased that Ghana had agreed to strengthen its partnership with Switzerland on sustainability.
She acknowledged the importance of Ghana’s cocoa sector to her country, adding that the SWISSCO delegation will share experiences and insights on ways to create a viable and resilient cocoa sector for present and future generations.
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