Dr. Francis Oppong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, has urged stakeholders in the cocoa industry to ensure that Ghana regains the top spot as the leading cocoa producer in the world.
He said from 1910 and 1977, Ghana was the world’s leading cocoa producer but lost that position to neighboring La Cote dIvoire due to the many challenges which plagued the industry.
Speaking during the inauguration of four technical committees of Ghana Cocoa Platform (GCP) on Tuesday, Dr Oppong, who is in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control, said although COCOBOD as regulators had done their best to ensure that the cocoa industry continue to drive the socio-economic development of the country, the sector has been beset with a lot of challenges.
Despite all, we are still plagued with challenges such as low farm productivity, pests and diseases, low technology, fluctuation of the prices of cocoa beans on the world market, ageing farmer populations, ageing trees, smuggling and illegal mining.
He said the composition of the technical committees reflect the dynamics of the cocoa industry in the country and urged the members to bring on board their rich experiences to bear.
He entreated them to develop practical steps and strategies, which would ensure that GCP, which is a programme implemented by COCOBOD and UNDP, to develop action plans which would address the fundamental challenges confronting the cocoa industry.
I will further challenge you to be creative and introduce some innovation to make the programme a perfect model of public-private partnership and also be guided by transparency and adhere to the terms of reference of the committees.
The four technical committees of the GCP which were inaugurated were the Crop Financing, Marketing and Pricing Committee, the Social Protection Committee, the Extension and Productivity Committee and the Environmental Committee.
The four committees which are made up of a total of 38 people from stakeholders in the cocoa industry would address issues pertaining to the four thematic areas of the GCP.
Mrs Rita Owusu-Amankwah, National Coordinator, GCP, said the sector contributes 30 per cent of the nations export earnings and therefore needs particular attention.
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