Bawumia charges COCOBOD to stop fertilizer import for cocoa farmers

Vice President Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has directed Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to purchase all fertilizers intended to be supplied to cocoa farmers locally next year, since local fertilizer companies have the capacity to supply them.

He said with the government’s flagship programme of “One-District, One Factory”, there were sufficient fertilizer factories operating in the country to meet local demands.

He said Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire had agreed to have a stake in determining the Floor Price of Cocoa on the world market and pay income differential to cocoa farmers, starting October in 2020/2021 Cocoa Season.

This, he said, would ensure a living wage for cocoa farmers and improve their sources of livelihoods.

Dr Bawumia reiterated Government’s commitment to establish a pension scheme for cocoa farmers to guarantee a regular source of income after retirement.

He said the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) would soon make presentations to the Economic Management Team on the modalities of the Scheme and subsequently submit it to Cabinet for approval.

Vice President Bawumia announced this when he delivered the keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the Olam Ghana Cocoa held at the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) in Accra on Wednesday.

Dr Bawumia unveiled a development project being undertaken by Olam Ghana Cocoa to provide potable water to 20 communities across the country.

Olam Ghana Cocoa also committed GH¢500,000.00 towards the establishment of educational endowment fund in 10 communities within its operational areas, with each community receiving GH¢50,000.00 each as seed capital, to support needy but brilliant students in those areas.

The beneficiary communities include Sefwi-Wiawso, Sefwi- Anhwiawso and Wassa Amenfi all in the Western North and Western regions, Akyem Tafo in the Eastern Region and Olam Wa Na Educational Fund in the Northern Region.

Others are Olam Ahafoman Educational Fund, Olam Denkyireman Educational Fund, Tepaman Educational Fund, Kwaboadi Educational Fund and Olam Joseph Antwi Memorial Educational Fund.

The ceremony brought together more than 5000 cocoa farmers across the country, cocoa purchasing clerks, traditional leaders and key partners in the cocoa value chain.

Vice President Bawumia reiterated government’s commitment towards creating a conducive business environment for the private sector to thrive and complement government’s efforts of achieving a Ghana beyond aid.

He said Government was supporting the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to undertake Youth in Cocoa Programme, so that they would replace the ageing cocoa farmers and bring fresh energy in the cocoa production industry.

In addition, government was supporting COCOBOD to undertake Re-planting and Rehabilitation Programme to replace diseased and old cocoa trees in the quest to enhance production and prevent compromising the quality of Ghana’s cocoa beans.

Vice President Bawumia commended Olam Ghana Cocoa for embracing digital technology in advancing credit and paying cocoa farmers, saying that it was in tandem with Government’s efforts to create a cash-lite economy to promote financial inclusion.

Mr Eric Asare Botwe, Business Head of Olam Ghana Cocoa, said out of the one million cocoa farmers in the country, 281,000 of them were selling their cocoa beans to them.

The firm, he said, started operating in Ghana in 1999, purchasing paltry 10,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans, but by dint of hard work, it had increased its purchases to 140,000 metric tonnes within the 20 years period.

He said the firm advanced $300 million loans through digital technology to cocoa farmers to expand their cocoa farms to enhance cocoa production.

Olam Ghana Cocoa was the First Global Trading House to be licensed to participate in the Internal Marketing of Cocoa and currently sources 140,000 metric tonnes of beans from about 201,000 dedicated farmers.

It employs over 650 local staff directly, and engages about 6,0000 commission agents covering all the cocoa producing regions in over 13,000 communities.

Olam has moved from just a licensed buying company (LBC) to become a strong partner of choice to COCOBOD and Government by offering agricultural and supply chain expertise and financial solutions.

Source: GNA

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