Work hard to sustain new level of cocoa production 

Former Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIG) and Member of Parliament (MP) for Offinso South, Mr Isaac Yaw Opoku, has urged stakeholders in the Cocoa industry, especially the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and cocoa farmers to work hard to sustain the new level of cocoa production in the country.

“We encourage all stakeholders to continue to work hard to sustain the new level of productivity,” he said.

Mr Opoku made the call while making a statement in parliament to congratulate COCOBOD for the unprecedented achievement in cocoa production in the 2020/2021 crop season.

It would be recalled that COCOBOD purchased 1,045,500 metric tonnes (mt) of cocoa beans in the 2020/2021 season, exceeding its target and beating the previous record of 1,024,526mt in the 2010/2011 season.

The former CRIG Executive Director, whilst making his statement noted that the remarkable achievement couldn’t have been made without the pragmatic programs and initiatives put together by COCOBOD.

He, therefore, took time to highlight some of the initiatives and urged the stakeholders, especially COCOBOD, to improve on it to ensure that the country produce more cocoa in the coming years.

The first program the Offinso South Legislator made mention of was the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD).

He noted that the program, which is ongoing in all the seven cocoa growing regions in the country, contributed immensely towards the growth of the sector.

Another program which the MP spoke about was the Mass Pruning programme introduced in the 2017/2018 through to the 2020/2021 crop season.

He said the program boosted flower production and naturally controlled fungal diseases, particularly the severe form of the black pod disease, mistletoes and other important pests.

“Climate change and its associated menace to agriculture keep threatening efforts at increasing cocoa productivity in Ghana. Consequently, COCOBOD introduced the pilot irrigation programme in 2017 to address the soil moisture stress in cocoa farms by providing  continuous supply of moisture to cocoa trees to ensure high productivity all year round”, the MP noted.

The Former CRIG Executive Director also indicated that the implementation of the Living Income Differential (LID) by Ghana COCOBOD in the 2020/2021 crop season and the introduction of the electronic scales at all buying centres were also a huge boost to cocoa production.

While the LID initiative resulted in an unparalleled rise in cocoa producer price from GHS515 per bag of 64 kilograms to GH660, representing a whopping 28% increase.

The introduction of electronic scales at all buying centers across the country gave farmers the assurance that the long standing scale manipulation menace usually perpetrated by purchasing clerks was a thing of the past and guaranteed farmers value for money.

He, therefore, encouraged all stakeholders to play their part to sustain the achievement. That aside, the MP also charged COCOBOD to put in the necessary measures to address the delays in payment of cocoa purchases, which characterised the 2020/2021 crop season.


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