The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has charged the management of Board to adopt simple but appropriate technologies to ease the work of cocoa farmers and make cocoa farming an attractive business venture, especially for the youth.
Mr Aidoo said the time has come for cocoa farming to be seen as a viable business venture with established service providers along the cocoa value chain, who will provide various services right at the farm gate to the farmer, on demand.
He made these statements at a retreat held for top management members of COCOBOD in the Eastern Region.
The CEO reiterated the need for the management of COCOBOD to confront issues bordering on cocoa sustainability head-on and urged the management to implement strategies designed by COCOBOD to improve productivity and enhance the welfare of cocoa farmers.
Mr Aidoo stressed the need for all departments, divisions and subsidiaries to work closely together to tackle challenges that come up in their day-to-day administration, adding that the cocoa industry is going through some trying times due to the decline in the world market price of cocoa, and the spread of diseases and pests in most cocoa farms, among others.
“This is the time to bring to bear all the skill sets and competencies, and experiences to address these challenges head-on for the cocoa industry to take its pride of place in the economic development of Ghana”, he said.
Mr Aidoo was particularly emphatic about vertical productivity, whereby, farmers can increase yield per hectare through the adoption of Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEP) without compromising the environment.
“We need to be conscious of our environment, so, instead of venturing into virgin or new forests for farming, the same plot of land can be cultivated to increase yield through pruning, hand pollination, irrigation, extension services and disease control, among other interventions”, he said.
The retreat brought together all heads of divisions and subsidiaries of COCOBOD, namely Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, Seed Production Division, Cocoa Health and Extension Division, Quality Control Company, Cocoa Marketing Company, as well as, Deputy Chief Executives in charge of Finance & Administration, Agronomy & Quality Control and Operations.