The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has taken earnest steps towards the creation of its integrated cocoa farmer database; announcing that it has settled on a software company to develop a Cocoa Management System (CMS) for its internal cocoa marketing operations.
The system, the organisation says, will be useful for cost-effective policy implementation and in delivering major interventions in the cocoa sector, such as the cocoa farmer pension scheme; in fulfilment of the government’s promise to farmers.
The integrated cocoa farmer database project includes the development of a software data system, a census of all cocoa farmers in Ghana as well as a mapping of all farms.
As part of the project, COCOBOD will also undertake a sensitization for farmers to understand how the new system will operate; considering that this is an innovation in the cocoa industry.
The CMS will collect data on every transaction within the industry with regards to cocoa purchases, input sales, the delivery of subsidies to farmers and the clocking of all extension officers for all farm visits.
It will allow for the continuous tracking of all such transactions and support cashless payments within the industry, linking various electronic wallets together to ensure quick payments.
Digital Innova, the software company which will develop the CMS was chosen from a group of 12 companies which went through a competitive bidding process, with approval from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).
A senior official from COCOBOD says the organisation also presented its plans to the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is providing funding for the project and it was approved.
The full implementation of the project as planned will ensure that for the first time there will be an accurate record of the land size, geographic locations, population, and record of cocoa farms and farmers in Ghana.
Real-time capturing and monitoring of transactions among stakeholders will also be made possible, such as, the monitoring of the activities of LBCs and other private service providers, as well as, the monitoring of compliance with CRIG/EPA guidelines for handling COCOBOD approved fertilizers and agrochemicals.
According to COCOBOD, with the system in place, it will replace its open-market general subsidy on cocoa inputs with personalized subsidy to only cocoa farmers and their cooperatives.
This is to ensure that approved and subsidised fertilizers and agrochemicals actually reach the intended end-users, cocoa farmers and are not smuggled out if the country.