Dutch Gov’t Pledges Support For Cocoa Farmers

Lilianne Ploumen (Right), Hans Doctor (Middle) seated alongside a Dutch Investor at the press briefing

The Netherlands Government has pledged to render support to local cocoa producers in Ghana to stimulate growth in the country’s cocoa sector.

The support, which is expected to come in the form of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), will see the country’s cocoa output increase from 400 tonnes per hectare to about 1000 tonnes per hectare annually.

The Minister for Trade and Development Corporation of the Netherlands, Lilianne Ploumen, who disclosed this at a press briefing recently in Accra, said funds that were previously given to Ghana by the Dutch government as direct aid would now be used to stimulate investment in Ghana, particularly in the agricultural sector.

According to her, ‘The trade mission, led by my very self and comprising 50 Dutch companies interested in doing businesses in Ghana is to showcase how the Netherlands and Ghana are moving forward from aid to trade and investment.’

‘We are looking at, among other things, how to revitalize the Ghanaian cocoa sector by supporting local cocoa farmers,’ Ms. Ploumen added.

She said a project geared towards equipping cocoa farmers with the requisite skills across the country had been launched.

The Dutch Minister indicated that her government was also considering significant investment in the country’s energy sector, as well as its ports and harbors.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Hans Doctor, in a remark, observed that the country’s agricultural sector output had declined in recent times as a result of government’s excessive focus on the oil sector, among others, a sentiment expressed by the World Bank a couple of weeks ago.

Commenting on the trade gap between the Netherlands and Ghana, Mr. Doctor disclosed that in 2013, the Netherlands total export to Ghana stood at an estimated amount of about 1.2 billion euros as against about 700 million euros registered by Ghana, adding that the Netherlands is the fifth largest trading partner of Ghana.

BY Melvin Tarlue

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