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DR. OPUNI SPEAKS AT 2014 CHOCOVISION

The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni has noted that in Ghana, the crop Cocoa is not just a commodity, but a source of livelihood, foreign exchange, employment and a major driving force for economic development.
He made this assertion during the 2014 CHOCOVISION, a fair that brings senior business leaders and key stakeholders from cocoa farmers to chocolate consumers together to explore and initiate new approaches and solution for securing a sustainable, successful chocolate future in Davos, Switzerland.
Speaking on the theme "Africa's Perspective On Cocoa Production, he revealed that Cocoa is important not only to Ghanaians but to a wider population globally since recent developments within the cocoa value chain has awakened consumer  consciousness about ethical and environmental standards associated with cocoa production.
"These days, the preference of consumers is for cocoa that has been produced under ethical and sustainable condition," promising that cocoa production practices will recognize fair remuneration and improved livelihood for cocoa farmers.
Dr. Opuni intimated that Cocobod will work in tandem with the Forestry Commission of Ghana to embark on a pilot cocoa forest landscape mosaic project to increase cocoa productivity through intensification rather than expansion into forest reserves, hoping that it will result in the production of "climate smart cocoa" in those pilot areas.
He revealed that  Cocobod will continue to ensure that cocoa farmers continue to receive reasonable incomes to cover their cost of production and make a decent margin, hence the commitment to pay 70% of the net FOB price of cocoa as producer price will be strictly adhered to, noting that Cocobod will again ensure that benefits realized from Cocoa FOB price appreciation will be passed on to Cocoa farmers in the form of bonus payment and support services.
According to Dr. Opuni, the major challenge facing the world  cocoa economy from a producer's perspective is how to attain stable international prices over a relatively long period that would not only be remunerative but also attractive to cocoa farmers, especially the youth.
The Cocobod boss opined that Cocobod sees scientific research into Cocoa, provision of inputs and extension service as very important for sustainable cocoa production and promised assistance towards the realization of this dream.
"We shall therefore continue to provide enough funding for these services, not forgetting of the rehabilitation and replanting of old and abandoned farm farms."
The Cocobod Chief said the provision of extension services in Ghana  is currently implemented under a Public Private Partnership between Cocobod and other industry stakeholders.  He noted that new effective and efficient approaches such as the use of mobile phone technology are used to transmit extension service messages to farmers, adding that the technology also allow farmers to report any problem they might be facing to extension officers for advice either by text or voice messages.
Dr. Opuni said as a means of attracting the youth between 21 and 40 years into cocoa farming, Cocobod will soon launch a programme called "Youth In Cocoa Initiative" which will provide such youth with the necessary support.
"We have already identified 3,000 young farmers in the Central Region of Ghana who will receive Cocobod's support during the planting season".
  Since the emerging oil Industry in Ghana has the tendency to result in the neglect of the Agricultural sector and reduced rural agricultural force, Dr. Opuni said efforts will be made to modernise cocoa production and researchers will also be challenged to produce labour-saving technologies to minimize the impact of possible shift of the economically active population from cocoa production to the oil sector.
"Cocobod will maintain its commitment to social responsibilities throughout the country in education, health, water and sanitation, rural community lighting and improvement of rural roads.  We will continue to support the scholarship trust.  To make the Trust sustainable, we will monitor the performance of investment regarding its returns" he said.
Dr. Opuni announced that given the path players of the industry are threading on and the benefits that Ghana continues to derive from Cocoa, the coming years will see the crop consolidating its status as beacon of hope for socio-economic development of Ghana

Contact Details

Cocoa Marketing Company (gh) Ltd
Post Office Box 1017
Room 302, Cocoa House/
Accra, Ghana.

Tel
0233-21-668281/668352/ 668464
Fax
0233-21-665076/667058
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