Aspiring flagbearer of opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Dr. Kwabena Duffuor says significant drop in Ghana’s cocoa production is worrying given that the commodity is the backbone of the economy.
Ghana achieved a historic feat of more than 1.14 million tons of cocoa production, about 45% increase in the 2020/2021 crop season.
However, dropped significantly in the 2021/2022 crop season though COCOBOD was yet to provide official figures.
The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) recent report said cocoa production during 2021/2022 dropped in the two world leading cocoa countries – Cote D’Ivoire (-6%) and Ghana (-34%) owing to multiple factors including devastating effect of swollen shoot disease and climate change.
Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has forecasting about 750,000 tons of cocoa production in the 2022/2023 crop season higher than the 2021/2022 production.
According to Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, his sources indicate Ghana may not meet this target for the season.
He said current happenings in the cocoa sector will ultimately affect the economy and cocoa farmers.
“Our leaders have failed us. What I am hearing is that Ghana may not be able to get 500,000 metric tons of cocoa this year. In 2010/2011, we had one million metric tons. We decided to sustain the gains and increase it so we become number one producer of cocoa in the world. We came up with a policy to distribute 20 million free cocoa seedlings to farmers annually. It was captured in the 2011 budget and we started implementing it. So hearing that we may not get 500,000 metric tons saddens me. It means cocoa farmers are going to suffer”.
Dr. Duffuor stated that “NDC is going to win the election at all cost and when we assume power, we will resume the distribution of 20 million free cocoa seedlings annually so we beat Ivory Coast to occupy the top spot as world largest producer of cocoa. We can’t let the cocoa industry collapse. It is the backbone of the economy”.
Dr. Kwabena Duffuor said this when addressing delegates of the NDC in Akim Manso in Asene Manso Akroso constituency in the Eastern region as part of his 4-day campaign tour.
At Upper West Akyem Constituency, Dr. Duffuor assured Cocoa farmers in the area that the next NDC government will help bring to life an abandoned 48-million-dollar Jute Factory at Adeiso.
The factory established by an Indian group call Ganges in partnership with government in 2008 sits on a 12-acre size land at the Upper West Akyem District.
When completed would be the largest jute factory in Africa with a monthly capacity of 600,000 sacks. This would have reduced Ghana’s $215million annual spending on importation of jute sacks to about $70 million.
Again, the factory was expected to provide job opportunities for 2,000 people.
Successive governments after President Kuffuor made efforts to ensure the project is completed for operationalization of the factory, however, the Akufo-Addo led government has failed to pay attention to the final stage of completion leaving the fledging factory to rot in the bush.
Chiefs, cocoa farmers and youth in the area continue to demand state attention to the factory but to no avail.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Kojo Ansah