Speaker Urges Cocobod To Help Cocoa Farmers

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has called on the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to urgently make arrangements for chemicals and spraying machines to be made available to cocoa farmers for them to spray their farms.

The call was made after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Asene/Akroso/Manso, George Kwame Aboagye, made a statement on the floor of Parliament on possible intervention in the cocoa sector to significantly increase Ghana’s cocoa production.

The Asene/Akroso/Manso MP said according to a World Bank report, the ability of Ghana to reach a middle income status would largely depend on efforts to increase cocoa production to about 600,000 tonnes per annum.

He said the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) had projected the country’s total cocoa production at the end of the 2016/2017 cocoa season to be 850,000 tonnes but by February 2017 purchases declared were 657,000 tonnes.

“Cocoa is the main source of income for the government and approximately 800,000 smallholder farmers,” he said, adding that some interventions had been put in place to increase cocoa production to at least one million tonnes per year.

According to the MP, some of the interventions include subsidies on fertilizers, mass spraying programme, extension systems and privatization of inputs distribution.

He said that Ghana could earn more revenue from cocoa if more attention is given to the processing of cocoa.

“President Akufo-Addo disclosed on World Cocoa Day in 2017 that though cocoa production by Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana constitute 60 percent of world cocoa output, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire earned $2 billion and $3.7 billion in 2015, together making $5.7 billion but the chocolate market is worth more than $100 billion, which is much greater than the highest world exporters cocoa put together.”

He said the problem of ageing cocoa farmers must be addressed by making funds accessible for young people who are interested in cocoa farming and also give better farming techniques and financial support to cocoa farmers.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, said there is a serious problem with supply of chemicals for farmers to spray their farms since some few individuals with allegiance to the ruling party have taken over the supply of the chemicals.

He said fertilizers must also be supplied to farmers free of charge.

“Mr Speaker, in my constituency cocoa farmers are complaining that they are not getting access to chemicals to spray their cocoa farms,” the Juaboso MP said.

The First Deputy Speaker confirmed what the NDC MP for Juaboso said about the lack of chemicals for cocoa farmers.

“Reports from my constituency, Bekwai in the Ashanti Region also say that farmers there are also complaining about not having access to chemicals and spraying machines and I urge COCOBOD to take immediate steps to resolve the problem, Mr Osei-Owusu added.