Joseph Boahen Aidoo – CEO of COCOBOD
The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) which prides itself as the world’s premium cocoa producer, is expected to begin a process that would lead to the identification and registration of all cocoa farmers in the country.
The newly introduced Cocoa Management System (CMS) is set to be outdoored at a media launch tomorrow.
It is a comprehensive database being built by the Cocobod to have relevant information within the cocoa value chain.
The system will collect, process and manage data and information on cocoa farmers, their farms, farm size, their dependents, activities, location, farm task, GPS information and many more.
Head of Public Affairs at Cocobod, Fiifi Boafo told Daily Guide “this is to help us plan and then also to project how we manage the cocoa industry because we have had a very important industry being managed based on assumptions.”
“For a very long time, all we hear is that we have about 800,000 households that are involved in cocoa; we don’t even know the demographics of these supposed 800,000 households, so the talk about having an average of 55year olds as the people involved in cocoa farm. So it’s difficult to plan generally…but as we proceed as a country, there is obviously the need for us to know exactly what we are doing and to what extent we will be able to effect positive change in the lives of cocoa farmers”, he said.
“So for example, after the establishment of this system, we should be able to say that farmer ‘A’ we are referring to is based in this community, this is his age and the age of his cocoa farm and based on that if we are to send pesticides or fungicides to that farmer, he will require this pesticides or fungicides or generally inputs for the development of the cocoa farm”, he emphasised.
According to him, “it helps us in how we can manage it and also for projection purposes; if we are in a position to tell that if we have the average age of cocoa farm being 22 [years], what is the future of the industry. We should be able to then plan; what do we spend our monies on, is it on fertilisers, is it on seedlings.”
Apart from that, he indicated “it will also help in dealing with how payments are done because cocoa purchases have been done based on you submit your cocoa, then you take your money.”
That, he said was because “we have Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) transfer [cash] monies where they are attacked, some of them are killed, you have farmers taking their monies and they are attacked halfway.”
But Fiifi Boafo insist “when this whole system is implemented, farmers will be able to get monies transferred directly to them after they have sold their cocoa; so money is transferred to them, be it their mobile money wallet or to their accounts where they are able to use it as and when they need it. But of course, right after selling your cocoa, the amount is transferred to you which you have it on your card.”
“In terms of money circulation, it helps in in circulating money better than just keeping money in their houses, under their pillows, where they are vulnerable to armed robbers and people who attack them and all that”, he noted.
Management of Cocobod led by Joseph Boahen-Aidoo have already tested and approved the system through a pilot project and set to begin two weeks initial of sensitization after which they will move to the regions to commence the collection of data for the intended purpose.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu