Cocoa still relevant to Ghana’s economy – Kufuor
“Cocoa is the mainstay of Ghana’s economy and has been since the colonial era, in fact from the 1920s.
“Today, Ghana produces up to 800,000 tons of premium cocoa annually, second globally only to Cote d’Ivoire, “the former President said, and added: “This combination of history and economic reputation now as a lower middle income country places cocoa at the centre of the Ghanaian agricultural identity.”
The former President, chairing the Green Ghana Lecture series of the Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative Farmers and Marketing Union Limited in Accra, however expressed worry that cocoa farming attracted mostly the aged despite the youthful nature of the Ghanaian population.
This development, he noted, was not in the best interest of the industry.
“According to the COCOBOD, the average age of the cocoa farmer in Ghana is 51 years as of 2015, which is not good for a country with a youthful population as ours,” Former President Kufuor observed, and commended Kuapa Kokoo for generating the interest of the youth in the cocoa industry.
“Instituting the Green Ghana Lecture Series will go a long way to engender a platform where ideas will be shared in the cocoa industry even better,’’ he said.
The lecture, part of the activities of the 25th anniversary celebrations of Kuapa Kokoo was on the theme “Empowering and attracting the second generation farmers in a Ghana Beyond Aid”.
It was organized with the support of the Millennium Promise Alliance, an international non-profit organisation committed to accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It attracted players in the cocoa industry including farmers, students, people from academia, agribusiness players, staff of Kuapa Kokoo, Staff of Millennium Promise Alliance, and a session of the Public.
Former President Kufuor recalled that the Government of Ghana under his leadership instituted very ambitious and sustainable policies that have revamped the cocoa industry.
“I am very happy that, my government between 2001 and 2008 instituted very ambitious and sustainable policies that have revamped the cocoa industry, he said, adding, “the mass cocoa spraying exercises, the subsidized fertilizers among others have led to increase in cocoa production”.
The former President observed that the current administration under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo was also instituting pragmatic policies to revamp the cocoa sector in Ghana, adding that the institution of the lectures by Kuapa Kokoo would engender discussions and create a platform to exchange ideas and improve the cocoa industry.
The event recognised President Akufo-Addo, who was represented by the Chief of Staff at the Presidency Mrs Frema Osei-Opare; former Presidents Kufuor, Jerry Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama for their contributions to the growth of the cocoa sector with citations and plaques.
Other laureates at the ceremony were Mrs Osei-Opare; Nana Frimpong Abebrese II, who established Kuapa, a cocoa farmer; Flt Lt Joseph Bampo Atiemo (retd); the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and former deputy CEO of COCOBOD, Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong; Twin Trading Company founder, Ms Pauline Tiffen, who was instrumental in the setting up of Kuapa and the President of Kuapa Kokoo, Madam Fatimah Ali.
Mr Samuel Adimado, the Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo, praised Nana Abebrese II and Madam Hannah Frimpong Abebrese, for their role in founding Kuapa Kokoo.
Earlier, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) beat the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to emerge winners of the Kuapa Kokoo/MPA Inter-Tertiary Schools Debate Competition, which formed part of the Green Ghana Lecture Series.
Eight tertiary institutions started the preliminary rounds but the number trimmed to four universities at the finale.
The UCC put up a spirited performance against the KNUST but lost out with a slim margin.
The KNUST participants took home a laptop computer each, medals of participation, hampers from sponsors, a trophy for their school, plus a cash prize of GH¢3,000 with one year internship with MPA and KKFU as well as Asanka Connectivity for their respective school libraries.
The runners-up also took home an electronic tablet each, medals of participation, hampers from sponsors as well as a cash prize of GH¢1,500.
Other participants also received consolation prizes.
Chief Nathaniel Ebo Nsarko, the Country Director of Millennium Promise, gave the assurance that the lecture series would be institutionalized as an annual event.