COCOBOD introduces SPS project
-to sustain market access of cocoa
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
Despite tremendous improvement of the cocoa industry in West Africa, especially Ghana, the threat posed by diseases and pests, and uncontrolled influx of harmful pesticides continue to exert enormous adverse effects on farm yields, particularly where the causal agents are not properly controlled.
Farmers sometimes lose their entire crop to a disease like the black pod, if there is lack of proper application or availability of the recommended fungicide. “The situation is aggravated by the use of banned or unapproved chemicals, either as a result of ignorance of economic reasons.
“The main reason underlying farmer patronage of these dangerous pesticides is their relative cheaper market prices. However, the continuous application of banned chemicals on cocoa is rather a more costly experience to the industry in general,” said the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Anthony Fofie, at the launch of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) capacity building project in Accra for West Africa producers (Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d’ Ivoire) to mitigate the harmful effects of pesticide residues in cocoa.
The SPS capacity building project aims to better manage pesticide application and sustain market access for the various cocoa sectors across the West African sub-region, in order to guarantee regular fiscal revenue.
It is also aimed at developing strategies to control the influx of unapproved pesticides in the cocoa industry.
According to Mr. Fofie, the successful implementation of the SPS capacity building project will yield rapid results for greater impact on the various cocoa sectors in the West Africa sub-region.
Commenting on the ambitious SPS capacity building project, Chairman, Board of Directors of Ghana Cocoa Board, Perceval Kuranchie urged producing countries to remain resolute and work to improve cocoa beans quality, including the environment, to levels that can produce sustained benefits for their respective economies.
“We do not have an easier approach to maintaining bean quality than to mobilize quality resources to implement the project successfully so that the consistency of our produce quality standards will guarantee us continuous market access”, he noted.
An eight member steering committee, comprising personnel from the Ghana Standards Board, Environmental Protection Agency, Farmers, Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana and Customs, Excise and Preventive Service were inaugurated to manage the SPS project.
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