George Kwame Aboagye, MP for Asene-Akroso-Manso constituency, has raised an alarm of a looming cocoa crisis in the country if policy makers do not take immediate steps to arrest current trends.
He said the average age of cocoa farmers in Ghana, currently 55, paints a bleak future for the country, and lamented that the physical intensive nature of the job, coupled with the stigma attached to it, makes the youth in cocoa-growing areas migrate to cities in search of greener pastures.
According to the MP, a World Bank report had disclosed that Ghana’s ability to reach middle income status depends on its ability to produce 60,000 tons of cocoa annually.
Added to this, he said, are the many barriers in the cocoa trade, with the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) impose lots of those restrictions.
Ghana losses about 30% to 40% of cocoa production to pests and other supply chain loses, a case, he stressed, gives room for worry.
On his part, John Jinapor, Member for Yapei Kusawgu constutency, said Ghana should pay more attention to the cocoa sector, and called on the House to support government on bringing innovative ways of sustaining and making the sector better for future generations.
He noted that if pragmatic steps are not put in place, this phenomenon would not only be devastating for Ghana, but to the world at large, since Ghana contributes about 20% of global cocoa production.
Quoting available records, Jinapor said the cocoa sector alone provides over a Hundred billion Dollars (USD100b) in revenue worldwide, with Ghana and Cote D’Ivior accounting for about 60% of the production.
He decried that in spite of this, Ghana earns only 6% of the total worldwide revenue, a case he describes as unacceptable.
According to him, the House and the whole country had been awoken to this imminent reality, and the only option was to act immediately to stall the looming crisis.
His accession was shared by Francis Kofi Oppong, a former Chief Executive Officer for Ghana COCOBOD. The former CEO cautioned that if Ghana did not devise an innovative succession plan for its cocoa production, the country would run into severe problems in the very near future.
By: Frederick E. Aggrey