Ghana COCOBOD Gets Ambitious

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Plans Buying Investing In Giant Companies

The Board Chairman of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hackman Owusu Agyeman, has revealed government was discussing ways to buy shares in big companies, which use cocoa as raw material to produce different finished products.

According to him, it will be beneficial to engage in such business with giant companies such as, Cadbury, Nestle, Mars, so as to rake in profits for the sector, especially farmers.

“….we have discussed the possibility, we produce the cocoa but we have no say in what MARS does, what Cadbury does, what nestle does, none of them, we are no where there and that is where the big money is. So maybe we take on what the minister is saying and begin in fact we have began talking about it, why not acquire some shares in some of these companies so that, we can share the benefit of the cocoa industry to our producers here”, he revealed.

The Board Chairman, was responding to a suggestion by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie, on how cocoa producing countries, can spearhead that agenda, during a joint technical cooperation committee on cocoa, involving Ghana and it neighbour, Cote d’ Ivoire.

The two-day meeting in Accra, was to harness resources and adopt strategies towards a sustainable cocoa economy.

The meeting, second of its kind this year, is a directive by the two leaders, Nana Akufo-Addo and Alassane Ouattara, to mutually work together to address the many challenges in the cocoa sector, which are common to both countries.

Mr. Owusu-Agyeman, said the solidarity between the two countries was encouraging, adding it was exciting to see the desire of countries on the continent, to work closely together for mutual benefits.

He said, it was some of this lack of cooperation and coordination that was lost in the past that led to Ghana losing US$1billion in revenue.

“In the last six months or so, we have lost about 30 percent of the price of cocoa on the world terminal market in London, sometimes in New York. For Ghana, we have lost $1billion in revenue”, he said.

He underscored the need for cocoa producing nations like Ghana, to consume cocoa in large quantities to aid in production.

“I think that we as a people should begin to consume what we produce and then all the other producing countries as well as simultaneously have frontal attack on cocoa consumption globally”, the chairman said.

The two day meeting, looked for strategies for mitigating the harsh effects of declining prices for cocoa farmers, building of resilient and robust coca sectors capable of rendering appreciable and sustainable benefits to farmers and the economies of both Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, produce about 2.35million tones of cocoa, which is about 60 percent of world’s production.

Unfortunately, these countries have little or no say in the international market and so when there is fall in prices or associated challenges, they are unable to do much because they have no authority.

The technical committee which comes at a time when there is extreme low cocoa prices on the world market, is a mutual platform for the two counties to work together to tackle the common challenges of the sector. It is pooling the best human and material resources from the two countries.

Chief Executive of COCOBOD, said the two presidents having observed the constraints and challenges hindering global cocoa economy, covering areas such as persistent price volatility, smuggling of inputs and cocoa beans, low consumption of cocoa in countries where it is grown, asked that COCOBOD and Cote d’Ivoire’s Conseil du Cafe’-Cacao of Cote d’ Ivoire find permanent solutions to these phenomena.

Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, was confident that the joint technical cooperation committee meeting will “lay a strong foundation for the attainment of a harmonized system underpinned by the spirit of fraternal relationship leading to the exchange of experiences, expertise and lessons along the cocoa value chain”.

He added that the focus of the meeting, is to foster cooperation on cocoa production, mechanisms to manage huge drops in prices and other topics which have far-reaching consequences on the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

While, encouraging the three technical committees to use the close resemblance of the socio-cultural and environmental backgrounds of the counties and come up with the best strategies, proposing key issues such as research, provision of planting materials, extension, pest and disease control, quality assurance, marketing structures, trading systems and local consumption.

The Minister for Food and Agriculture, said the experts assembled, were capable enough to provide adequate reasons for the inability of Alliance for Cocoa Producing Countries (COPAL) to achieve it noble objectives.

According to Dr. Akoto Afriyie, cocoa production in the two countries, has almost reached its frontier land areas and so necessarily, there must be intensification of it production.

He suggested expansion of the downstream sector and increasing consumption of cocoa domestically to ensure market equilibrium to achieve remunerative producer price.

“Increasing domestic consumption will spur increased cocoa processing locally, not forgetting the use of the by-products. This presents an opportunity to industrialize and diversify the economies of our commodity-dependent economies, create job opportunities, alleviate poverty and generate revenues for social and economic development”.

 

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