Ghana’s Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has said the time is ripe for Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to develop strategies that will bring new life to the cocoa value chain and improve wellbeing of farmers.
Speaking at a Joint Commission Meeting/Cocoa Investor Forum in Accra, he said: “At the economic management level, we are looking at a possible insurance system for our farmers. We must begin to think outside the box; we should consider the cocoa farmers and their wellbeing. The crop continues to be our economic backbone,”
The Investor forum, organised by Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, was in collaboration with the African Development Bank and it brought together actors in the cocoa value chain, private sector financial institutions, as well as the World Bank.
It was also aimed at discussing possible solutions required to transform the cocoa sectors in Ghana and in Cote d’Ivoire, framework for the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) investment programme and also joint commission statement in preparation for the World Bank Annual meeting.
The forum also discussed how to enhance farm level productivity, marketing and issues of interest in international affairs.
The meeting comes on the back of low cocoa prices on the international market and it is expected to devise strategies for mitigating the harsh effects of declining prices on cocoa farmers.
Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, last year, established joint cooperation on cocoa with the aim of seeking to influence the direction of decisions of global stakeholders on the commodity, especially those which affect its pricing, as the two countries account for more than 60 percent of total global output annually.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo explained that it is prudent to improve the crop yields per acre and called for urgent, effective and sustainable measures to first protect the farmers and the economies from the harsh effects of the price falls and chart a future path of greater self-reliance.
He proposed value addition to the crop and the need to increase local consumption of the end product.
“We should move away from producing only the crop beans and add value,” he stressed.
Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire produce about 2.35 million tonnes of cocoa, which is about 60 per cent of world production but the two countries only consume less than one percent of the produce, which the Senior Minister said is “abysmally low.”
He, therefore, called for deliberate major policy interventions from the two countries to ensure increased cocoa consumption locally.