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Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has called for the establishment of strong partnerships between the cocoa regulator and academia to find solutions to challenges in the cocoa industry and expand the benefits which accrue out of the industry to the country.
He is convinced that the expertise, experiences, and research capacities of academic institutions can be devoted to the cocoa sector to enhance efficiency and create opportunities along the value chain which can attract private sector investments.
“It is also important”, Hon Aidoo said, “that the research feeds into material production both at the farming level and when it comes to processing and values addition.”
Hon Aidoo was speaking at a meeting with a delegation from the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, when they paid a courtesy call on him on Wednesday, 05 May 2021.
The delegation, led by Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako, the Vice-Chancellor of UENR, discussed possible avenues for collaboration between the University and COCOBOD in a variety of basic and advanced research areas.
He said the University has the technology for weather, disease, pest, and plant-stress forecasting to better inform the schedule and timing of the various farming practices to improve yields. It will also allow for enhanced monitoring of the progress being made in the fight against the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD) which is a major challenge presently facing the industry.
In this response, Hon Aidoo said COCOBOD, in recognition of the need to adopt different technologies to advance the cocoa sector, has introduced farmers to some user-friendly machinery to ease farming practices and is currently rolling out the Cocoa Management System (CMS) to gather critical data which will inform the management of the cocoa sector.
He added that changing weather patterns caused by climate change is already forcing a modification to the traditional cocoa farming practices. There are also observable shifts in the production cycle of the cocoa trees as well as the prevalence of the pests and diseases which affect them.
COCOBOD is open to new partnerships with academia to aid in the management of these challenges and as well in the area of cocoa product development for the consumer market.
Hon Aidoo expressed much pleasure at the initiative taken by UENR to establish a partnership and assured the delegation of further detailed discussions in anticipation of a fruitful long-term collaboration.
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