Government has announced measures to increase cocoa production to one million metric tonnes as it improves the local processing of the beans to 50 percent.
Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of perennial crops, William Quaittoo, says measures have been put in place to achieve the goal indicating that Ghana has about seven major cocoa processing firms currently in operations, including the Ghana Cocoa Processing Company.
Despite efforts targeted at adding value to the country’s cocoa before exporting, the country still exports about 80 percent of its raw cocoa beans, losing a lot of foreign earnings.
Government’s aim is to reach 50 percent processing of cocoa beans in the short term as it reaches for one million metric tonnes production.
Mr. William Quaittoo, in an interview with TV3 after launching a cocoa premium package for cocoa farmers of AgroEcom Ghana limited at Akim Oda in the Eastern Region said “what we want to do now is to give them the pods so that they do the seedlings themselves on their farms.
“It is far cheaper that way than putting in money to do the seedling somewhere for them to come and cart them and this takes travel time. If they do it in their farms, all they now have to do is plant and right there on the farm.”
AgroEcom’s cocoa farmers’ premium payment and distribution of agro inputs and equipment are geared towards production of certified cocoa beans and improving livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
The beneficiary farmers were drawn from the Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Brong Ahafo and Central regions.
The Africa Head of AgroEcom, Ruhul Gopinath, reiterated the company’s commitment to improve on the lives of cocoa farmers.
He said “what we want to do is to reduce the prices of good quality agro inputs for the farmers to increase their harvest.”