Cocoa farmers must earn more from their toil – President Akufo-Addo

Government is committed to ensuring that Ghana’s farmers get greater value from their toil, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

He said the situation where Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire accounted for more than 60 per cent of the worlds cocoa output but earned a meager $5.75 billion out of the sale of cocoa beans in 2015, was not acceptable.

“This means that the farmers whose toil and sweat produced 60 per cent plus of the world’s cocoa, earned only 5.75 percent of the global value of their activity, from a chocolate market, which was worth some $100 billion in 2015.

“This cannot, and should not continue,” President Akufo-Addo said on Monday, when Mary Barnard, President of one of the world’s largest snacks companies, Mondelez International Inc, called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

Mary Barnard’s call on the President was to familiarise herself with the company’s operations in Ghana, and also to expand the company’s “Cocoa Life” project, which “works with partners to transform communities by linking improvements in productivity with progress towards development goals.”

The ‘Cocoa Life’ project aims to “provide knowledge and skills to improve cocoa families’ livelihoods and opportunities and inspire new generation of growers.”

President Akufo-Addo indicated that “the time has now come for us to enter into different kinds of commercial interests.

“We are looking to seeing more of the processing and value-enhancing aspects of the development of the cocoa industry here in Ghana. That is a major preoccupation for my government, and we are fashioning policies to this end.”

President Akufo-Addo noted that, Ghana’s association with companies like Mondelez International should make it possible for some of the company’s operations, i.e. the manufacturing of some of their chocolate brands, to be done in Ghana.

This, the President explained, “will be a significant step forward for us to realise greater value for our farmers.  In as much as consumers are interested in knowing the sources of supply of their cocoa and be satisfied with the quality, our farmers are also now very interested in the other end of the market, and interested in what can be done to increase their share of the value chain. It is a matter that is of preoccupation of our government.”

President Akufo-Addo said his government was poised to ensure the value-enhancing aspects of the exploitation of the country’s natural resources, and move Ghana away from being a mere producer of raw materials.

“It served us for certain periods of our development, it cannot continue to serve us going forward into the 21st century,” he added.   

Mary Barnard assured President Akufo-Addo that whilst Mondelez International does not “own all aspects of the supply chain”, the company is committed to discussions and partnerships with Ghana to help “develop the incomes of farmers.”

Source: GNA

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