We shall not neglect our traditional food crops – Mahama
Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Monday gave assurance that government would continue to support traditional sources of income even with the discovery of oil and gas.
“Government is fashioning out all legislations that will ensure sustainable growth and quality of all our traditional products.”
Vice President Mahama gave this assurance when a delegation from Cadbury and Kraft Foods and Fair Trade Foundation, United Kingdom (UK) called on him to re-affirm their commitment to partnering Ghana to improve on cocoa, sheanut and cashew nuts productions in the country.
The Vice President said government would still invest in cocoa, shea and cashew nuts in addition to mining and the timber industry.
“We want to avoid the Dutch disease of over concentrating on oil, which nearly put their economy in disarray.”
He said government had initiated moves to set up sheanut and cashew nut processing factories in the northern parts of the country to boost the image of poverty stricken areas especially women folk, who had been engaged in those areas.
The Vice President expressed happiness that Ghana, which had earlier on been listed among countries engaged in child labour in cocoa farms, had been exonerated and called on all prospective investors to disregard that report.
Mr Nick Bunker, President of Kraft Foods UK and Ireland said apart from the partnership in cocoa processing, they would also support Ghana in Agriculture and environment.
He said 17 Extension Officers from his outfit had been deployed in the cocoa producing communities to help to improve on production quality and increase yield.
Mr Bunker commended Ghanaian cocoa farmers for producing high quality beans that enabled his outfit over the years to produce high quality chocolate in the UK.
Madam Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of Fair Trade Foundation, said her outfit would this year certify ten more new farmer groups in addition to the existing 100 communities under contract since last year.
She said a total of 48 million pounds was invested into the programme for the next 10 years in key regions in Ghana, South East Asia, India and the Carribean.
Madam Lamb announced that since they signed that contract with Ghana, sale of cocoa beans had increased from 5,000 to 20,000 tons and called on all principal stakeholders to continue to support them to achieve their ten-year term goals with Ghana.