Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo has disclosed that the Ghana Cocoa Board’s fully traceable Cocoa Management System is near completion.

Currently, purchased cocoa can be traced to the community level in Ghana. However, this traceability system does not start at the farm level, which can prevent cocoa companies or other sector stakeholders from verifying whether the cocoa they are purchasing meets their sustainability criteria.

The Cocoa Management System, when implemented, will solve this problem by compiling a database of all cocoa farmers in Ghana and all transactions made by authorized cocoa industry entities in the country.

The minister was speaking at the Ghana Cocoa Board’s 75th-anniversary lecture and 2022 Cocoa Day Media launch in Accra on Monday.

“I have been reliably informed that work on the COCOBOD Cocoa Management System is nearly completed, with some 664,529 farmers captured in six of the country’s cocoa growing regions. A credible database on our farmers is surely a prerequisite for the full implementation of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme. Let me assure you all, especially our farmers, that we will have a decent pension for our farmers.”

Meanwhile, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana Legon Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu is advocating more investment into cocoa research in Ghana.

This, he believes, will go a long way in developing the sector and closing the many loopholes in the industry.

Prof Oduro, who doubles as a former Board Chairman of the Cocoa Research Institute, spoke while delivering his lecture at the same event.

He said, “If we want to progress and go beyond our current production, we ought to place a high premium on research in cocoa technologies to ensure that we assume leading roles in cocoa research and innovation. All needed early and high-yielding varieties, issues of insects, pests and diseases management, agronomic management issues etc are things we inherit from quality research.”

“So the challenges ought to be addressed as soon as practicable to enhance the Cocoa Research Institute. And here, we’re looking at the lack of state-of-the-art laboratories.”

Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu also tasked stakeholders in the agriculture sector to focus on making cocoa farming attractive for the youth.

Ghana’s cocoa sector has in recent times been facing significant difficulties, such as the smuggling of fertilizer to neighbouring countries, illegal mining and poor commodity prices, which seriously threaten sustainability.

On the back of this, the Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana Legon asserts that these challenges might discourage the youth from venturing into cocoa production.

“Assuming we’re able to address all the environmental issues associated with cocoa production, how do we regenerate and sustain the interest of farmers in cocoa production, and how do we make cocoa production attractive to youth? Until we get to that point, it will be extremely difficult for us to keep up with the momentum. We have an obligation to ensure that the next generation of Ghanaians operates in a poverty-free environment.”

Activities lined up for the 2022 National Cocoa Day Celebration

This year’s edition, which has coincided with the Board’s 75th Anniversary celebration, will be held on the theme, ‘COCOBOD @ 75: Sustaining Our Environment, Wealth and Health’ with a series of activities from 28th September to 1st October 2022 at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior High School Park, Suhum in the Eastern Region.

On Saturday, 24th September 2022 there will be a health walk for all staff of the Ghana Cocoa Board. This will happen concurrently in Accra/Tema, Kumasi and Takoradi.

On Wednesday, 28th September 2022, there will be a float on some principal streets at Suhum and later, an exhibition of agro-inputs will be officially opened at 10a.m at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior High School Park.

On Thursday, 29th September 2022, two major events will take place. The first is a Forum on Sustainable Cocoa Production and the second is a Cocoa Quiz Competition.

The forum will take place at the Centenary Hall, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Suhum whereas the Quiz will happen at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior High School Park.

Four selected Senior High Schools from the Region will take part in an Inter SHS Cocoa Football Gala Competition on Friday, 30th September 2022 after which the day will be climaxed with a Cocoa Night Concert.

On Saturday, 1st October 2022, the 4-day celebration will max out with a Grand Durbar at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior High School Park and will have the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo as Special Guest of Honour.