Joseph Boahene-Aidoo – COCOBOD CEO
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahene-Aidoo, has urged major players in the cocoa chain to do more to promote cocoa as a beverage throughout the world.
“Let us together promote the raw less processed cocoa as a beverage to prevent the many avoidable health bills that we pay and to keep away the doctors. This way, we can expand the cocoa market.”
He disclosed this while addressing Cocoa Merchants’ Association of America in Turnberry Isle, Miami, USA.
The meeting brought together cocoa producers and operators in the cocoa industry.
Mr. Boahene Aidoo made the call after he observed that the participants were served coffee and tea beverages during breaks to the neglect of cocoa beverages even though the conference was held for business men and women in the cocoa industry.
He said “we all know the health benefits that the raw cocoa, unsweetened can offer, and because we have not promoted cocoa beverage, we have allowed the cocoa market to shrink, thus affecting the cocoa prices on the international market.”
Mr. Boahene Aidoo disclosed that the Ghanaian cocoa farmer is generally a smallholder who suffers from the web of double jeopardy of declining world market prices for the commodity, as well as heavy toll of agronomic challenges, chief among them being the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD).
The CEO also blamed the land tenure constraints and age factor of both the cocoa trees and the farmers themselves as inhibiting agents in cocoa production.
“The net effect reflects the declining trend of cocoa production in Ghana over the last five years, slashing from one million metric tons in 2010-2011 to 778,000 metric tons in the 2015-2016 cocoa season,” he noted.
He assured players in the industry that pragmatic policies, programmes and interventions would be put in place by his administration to give farmers remunerative prices, improve their welfare and livelihood to motivate them to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry in Ghana.
“We will revamp the industry by investing in yield-enhancing initiatives such as pest and disease control, rehabilitation, land tenure interventions, incentive packages and the promotion of agronomic practices without compromising the environment and the quality of our beans,” he said, adding that the cocoa farmer is the central focus of the policy direction on the new COCOBOD management and that Ghana must be able to attain a production target of one million metric tons and above in the shortest possible time.
He called on the Association to be part of the collective efforts of producers, suppliers, traders, hedgers, manufacturers and consumers to ensure the sustainability of the cocoa industry worldwide.
By Kwesi Biney