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COCOBOD Partners Ghana Cocoa Platform to Organize Consultation Session with Cocoa Farmers

 

Accra, September 29, 2014 –The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in partnership with Ghana Cocoa Platform (GCP) has organized consultation sessions with cocoa farmers across the seven cocoa growing regions in the country to solicit for their views and commitments towards sustainable cocoa production. The regional consultation which is the first of its kind since the Platform came into operation last year was under the sponsorship of the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) Green Commodities and World Cocoa Foundation.

The sessions provided the opportunity to share knowledge with over (1000) cocoa farmers in the seven regions namely Eastern, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Western North, Western South, Central and Volta on the vision, goal, objectives, structure and functionality of the Platform, national cocoa policies, emerging national and global issues in relations to cocoa production and sustainability.

The session also afforded farmers the prospect to share their views on the critical challenges they faced in their work and their suggestions to overcome those challenges so to feed into COCOBOD and Technical Committee work to facilitate decision making and policy formulation.

Speaking at the opening session of the consultation process, Dr. Francis Baah, The Executive Director for Cocoa Health and Extension Division said, COCOBOD has identified 150 million cocoa trees throughout the country that have been affected by swollen shoot disease and has developed programme to cut off 50 million of such trees annually. He said adequate compensation would be paid to the affected farmers through negotiation process.

Dr. Baah who also pleaded with chiefs and land owners to allow for replanting of the affected trees said cocoa trees that are over 30 years would be replaced to enhance productivity.
The Eastern Regional Minister Mr. Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, on his part pointed out that cocoa farming plays an important role in the national economy, and therefore to ensure its sustenance more youth must be motivated to join the industry.

The Minister also used the session to sound caution note to illegal miners (galamsey operators) to distance their operation from the region. He said, the region can no longer contain their activities especially the impact of their operation on the environment.

Mrs. Rita Owusu-Amankwah, the National Coordinator of the Platform indicated that the Platform has been established to enable all stakeholders including farmers to share their experiences, challenges and knowledge to facilitate effective decision making and policy formulation to make the cocoa industry in Ghana reoccupy once its enviable position in the world.
The National coordinator said, the session is considered very important because the platform sees farmers as one of the key actors in the cocoa value chain and needed to be consulted when important decisions are been taken about the industry.

The Ghana Cocoa Platform (GCP) is designed to engage all stakeholders in the cocoa industry on the same platform to deliberate on issues and problems affecting cocoa farmers and collectively make inputs to guide policies affecting the cocoa industry.”

According to the National Coordinator “It is in alignment with this objective that we in the Platform coordinating Unit together with our development partners see farmers’ representation and participation in our operational activities as one of the key steps towards deepening commitment for achieving sustainable cocoa production”.
The Suhum cocoa corporative Union President, Mr. Kwame Asa-Ofori who was one of the participants at the consultation session in an interview was full of praises for the Platform for organizing the event. According to him the consultation session made him and his fellow farmers felt very important because their voices also matters in decision making. He was grateful for the opportunity and requested it should be done annually.

In addition the Central regional Chief Farmer Mr. Nana Kwesi Ofori on his part commended the management of UNDP, CCOCOBOD and the Ghana Cocoa Platform for organizing the consultation session across all the cocoa regions. He was happy that the UNDP has stretched its support towards increasing cocoa production in Ghana and urged them to do more to increase the capacity of farmers to make the industry attractive for the younger generation.
The regional chief farmers also requested that the consultation session should be organized annually to help increase farmers participation in the Platform.

The Ghana Cocoa Platform (GCP) is an initiative by Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which aim at enhancing public-private dialogue and joint action planning to support the scale up of sustainable production in the sector. The Platform is chaired and hosted by COCOBOD with strong participation from farmers and farmer groups, public and private sector institution and actors.

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