Cocoa is Ghana

Dear Colleagues,

We have come through a year that was filled with both successes and challenges. How encouraging it has been to know that we can still count on all of you regardless of the challenges we might have faced in our collective resolve to enhance the cocoa; coffee and shea sub-sectors.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), I want to thank everyone for your invaluable contributions throughout the 2017/18 crop year. I must admit that working with you the past 2 years has been a pleasure. My team and I appreciate your loyalty, dedication and hard work which, have culminated into the strides and gains we have achieved in the cocoa industry over the years.

I doff my hat to all our gallant farmers especially, those who distinguished themselves in the cocoa, coffee and shea nut sectors to receive various awards during the 34th National Farmer’s Day Celebration held at Tamale, Northern Region. We also wish to thank our numerous stakeholders, who have rallied behind us during this two-year period of continuous fall in world prices of cocoa. In the face of these challenges, there is ample evidence that we are achieving the target we have set for ourselves to transform the cocoa sector. Our focus and strategy to assist our cocoa farmers with Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) geared towards increasing farm productivity is yielding positive results.

Obviously, we have had some complaints from our farmers across the cocoa regions regarding the implementation of the Hand Pollination, Subsidized Fertilizer, Mass Pruning, Mass Spraying, and Rehabilitation Programmes, among others. Going forward, let us work collectively to address these concerns. We, as Management, will continue to equip our field staff with the needed logistics to effectively plan the various schedules for efficient implementation of the on-going interventions of the Board in 2019, and this means more work ahead. While there is much work to be done, and there may be further challenges ahead as we intensify our interventions, I am happy we are ending 2018 stronger and more focused because the future of the cocoa; coffee and shea sub-sectors looks bright.

Let me reiterate that government and COCOBOD see bright prospects in our quest towards domesticating the shea plant. It is worthy to note that efforts at shortening the gestation period of the shea plant to three years have been successful and this, coupled with plans to establish a shea plantation at Bole in 2019, will lead greatly to changing the economic situation in the three regions of the North.

I am happy to disclose that our ambitious desire to ensure at least 50% local processing of our cocoa is also making progress. Currently, we have been able to achieve domestic processing of about 300,000mt of cocoa, a 19% jump from the 252,000mt previous figure, bringing to 34%, the total volume of annual cocoa output (averaging 900,000mt) that is processed locally. I wish to encourage you once again to continue to make cocoa part of your meal to maximize its health

and nutritional benefits. Again, I would like to remind you that cocoa products are still the best gift you can ever give to a loved one this festive occasion. Consume more cocoa this festive season for a healthy life.

Finally, my dear colleagues, let us be resolute in our journey towards a sustainable cocoa economy. Our job is to continue to focus intently on what we can control: providing our farmers and stakeholders with the best services and most comprehensive solutions to the challenges of the industry. I have such great confidence in the future of the cocoa industry because our PEPs are yielding great results.

Once again, I appreciate your great work this year. Please enjoy some well-deserved rest with your families and friends during this holiday season and let us get right back in 2019 with renewed commitment to work more efficiently and effectively. We wish you the Best of the Season and a Prosperous New Year.