Dr Francis E. Awortwi, the Acting Head of Department of Environmental Science at the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (UCAES), Bunso, said: “Many governments don’t pay serious attention to the cocoa sector and rather tend to play politics with it.”
He, therefore, called on government and all stakeholders to work together to save the cocoa industry adding that drastic measures were needed to revive the sector; the backbone of the country’s economy.
Dr Awortwi was addressing farmers and key stakeholders in the cocoa sector at the Third Cocoa Dialogue held at Bunso in the Eastern Region.
It was organised on the theme: “Cocoa is the Backbone of our Country and its Sustainability Is Key.’’
The programme was under the auspices of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA).
Nana Oboadie Boateng Bonsu, the President of the Concerned Farmers Association of Ghana (CFAG), called on government to intervene and put a stop to the cutting down of cocoa trees and replacing them with rubber plantation and mining activities.
He said he was not against people investing in rubber farms, however, “we shouldn’t destroy cocoa trees that the Government and farmers have invested huge monies in.”
Mr Richmond Frimpong, the President of GARDJA, called on government and all stakeholders in the cocoa industry to add value to the beans to earn more foreign exchange for the country.
He said the country should be looking at investing in other by- products of cocoa such as the husk, which research had proven that it could be used to generate cheaper electricity through biomass.
Mr Humphrey Ayisi, the National Chairman of the World Cocoa Farmers Organisation, called on policy makers to actively involve cocoa farmers in such programmes to make its implementation holistic.