By Agnes Ansah .
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko, has disclosed that cocoa farmers can make more money if they take advantage of the governments Productivity Improvement Programme (PIP).
“The programme, when implemented well, would also enable the country to widen its production of cocoa beans,” he said.
He made the call at a press conference organised to address the misconceptions created by the Minority on the determination of the Cocoa Producer Price.
Mr Nyarko observed that the PIP would improve the current 450 kilogrammes per hectare harvested by the farmers to a 1,500.
He said that some farmers had already recorded more bags of cocoa compared to what they recorded previously due to the introduction of the programme, hence, others should be encouraged to do so.
“This is what farmers should and must be educated and encouraged to focus on to improve their livelihoods,” Mr Nyarko said.
The Deputy Minister also indicated that the PIP would also enable the country widen its production base and help the government set up industries to process the cocoa beans into finished products.
He observed that the country can generate $100 billion from the confectionary market if 50 percent of the raw cocoa is processed into finished product.
He indicated that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire produce 60 percent of the world’s cocoa, yet is only able to generate a little over $5 billion.
He said Ghana, in particular, is able to process only 30 percent of the cocoa which doesn’t fetch enough money.
He said the country’s inability to process more of its cocoa into finished goods isn’t dependent on the non-existence of processing plants, but on low productivity.
He explained that if the country establishes processing plants, but the raw material to feed it isn’t enough, those factories would become obsolete in no time, hence, people should rather focus on increasing production than on establishing plants.
He said if the country is able to produce more to feed the factory that would be established, then more foreigners would be attracted to invest in the cocoa sector.
He, therefore, advised that the farmers should be encouraged to take advantage of the PIP and other projects to sustain the cocoa sector.
He added that Ghanaians should also be encouraged to consume the confectionaries that are produced in the country.