Cocoa’s dominance has grown since 2017 — Nana Addo

Ghana’s cocoa sector growth, the mainstay of the economy, has been more pronounced since 2017, according to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, owing to the government’s policy reforms in the industry.

“From an average output of 880,000 tonnes, the country achieved an all-time record production of 1,047,385 tonnes in 2021, the highest ever yearly production of cocoa since its introduction into Ghana in 1879,” he said.

The President stated at the 37th edition of the national farmers’ day celebration at the Adisadel College Park in Cape Coast, Central Region, that the cocoa sector had undergone significant transformation, which had increased earnings from the crop for Ghana.

This, he said, was made possible by the implementation of productivity improvement techniques that resulted in higher yields from the same acreage, as well as the adoption of technology and practices that modernised cocoa production in an environmentally, socially, and sustainably friendly manner.

In addition, the design of policies to address inequalities in the international cocoa marketing system by paying farmers a Living Income Differential of USD400 per tonne of cocoa, as well as the fostering of partnerships and collaborative actions of stakeholders toward greater investments, have aided the industry’s growth.

Noting his government’s track record in the sector, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the provision of a pension scheme for farmers, which began in 2020 under his administration, will ensure decent livelihoods for over 1.5 million cocoa farmers after retirement.

“The pilot pension scheme initially covered about 2,800 farmers in the New Edubiase Cocoa District of the Ashanti Region, and a nationwide registration of all cocoa farmers is underway under the cocoa management system to accelerate the process,” he added.

Under Section 26 of the COCOBOD Law, 1984 (PNDC L.81), the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) was tasked with establishing a Contributory Insurance Scheme for Cocoa Farmers within the framework of the Social Security Scheme, so that cocoa farmers could also enjoy a well-deserved pension upon retirement.

The Pension Scheme will enable cocoa farmers to improve voluntary contributions toward their retirement, with COCOBOD making an additional contribution on their behalf.

The theme of this year’s event, co-hosted by the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, and the Ghana Cocoa Board, is “Planting for Food and Jobs; Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana.”

The day honors farmers and fishermen for their contributions to Ghana’s socioeconomic development. A total of 160 farmers and fishermen from across the country will be honored for their outstanding efforts to ensure the nation’s food security.

Alhaji Mashud Mohammed of the Northern Region’s Meon District has been named the Overall Best National Farmer for 2021.

He received GHc600,000 from the Agricultural Development Bank, GLICO insurance for 500,000, and a study trip to Israel sponsored by Broadspectrum Limited.