In spite of the recent gains in the cocoa industry, President John Evans Atta Mills says the Government is committed to investing more in the sector and support for farmers to further increase production to develop the economy.
According to the President although this year’s achievement of the record cocoa production level of the one million tonnes is remarkable, there is still room for improvement, and assured farmers that the Government will continue to invest in measures to consolidate the gains. Addressing hundreds of cocoa farmers and other stakeholders in the cocoa industry at a durbar at Effiduase near Kumasi in the Ashanti region over the week end, to mark the Cocoa Producers Alliance (COPAL) Cocoa Day, President Mills said the industry remains a top priority in the Government’s ‘Better Ghana’ agenda.
The event, marked in all COPAL member countries aimed at promoting improvement in the industry, as well as promoting local consumption of cocoa and its derivatives in cocoa producing nations. It was on the theme, “Cocoa: our prosperity, our life.”
“My government has made giant strides in improving productivity and ensuring equitable returns for our cooca farmers and we will continue to ensure that remunerative producer prices are paid to cocoa fatrmers to improve their incomes, reduce poverty and encourage them to work harder,” President Mills said.
Annual cocoa production increased from 680,781 metric tonnes in the 2007/2008 season to an unprecedented level to over one million metric tonnes in the on-going 2010/2011 season.
The feat was attributed to the intensive policy interventions by government such as the increased provision of subsidised fertilizers, supply of early bearing and high yielding planting material and the timely payment of remunerative producer prices and bonuses to farmers.
President Mills commended farmers and all other stakeholders for their contributions which have culminated in the improvement of the industry, saying the government will not relent in its efforts to give the industry all the support it needs.
“In our cherished dream of transforming the cocoa sector into a wealthy and healthy industry for our people, my government will continue to pursue various policy measures to boost all spheres of the industry,” he stressed.
These include the continues support for the adoption of intensive methods, of production with emphasis on financial, technological and environmental interventions and encouragement of farmers to replant in old denuded areas with improved planting materials instead of extensive expansion to virgin forests.
The government, President Mills said, “Considers cocoa as a legacy bequeathed to us by our forefathers, and which must be harnessed for the benefit of both current and future generations,” and called for the collective effort of all stakeholders to preserve the cocoa sector.”
Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwabena Duffuor, asked Licensed Buying Companies (LCBs) to use the Seed Fund that will be advanced to them by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to pay farmers promptly for their produce as the industry prepares for the 2011/2012.
Mr Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, also thanked the farmers for their cooperation and contribution to the success of the Board’s intervention, reminding them that the achievement of the one million tonnes target, poses another challenge to the industry.
Source: Ghanaian Times