The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has appealed to private operators in the cocoa industry to support the efforts of extension officers in educating and counseling cocoa farmers about the implications of child labour and the smuggling of fertilizers.
He urged all stakeholders in the cocoa sector to join in the fight against the smuggling of fertilizers to neighbouring countries to enable Ghanaian farmers optimize on the benefits of the current floor price of cocoa.
The COCOBOD Chief Executive urged stakeholders to convey to farmers the key demands of the Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEP) which advocates regular pruning of infested and parasitic branches and best practices in the application of organic and inorganic fertilizers, describing the two processes as “the key to unlocking the elements of productivity on cocoa farms”.
Mr. Aidoo was addressing participants of the 2019 Olam Cocoa Managers’ Conference at the Bunso Cocoa College at Bunso in the Eastern Region.
Some 500 Managers and senior staff drawn from Olam Cocoa’s operational areas congregated at Bunso for a week-long conference which mostly entailed reviews on respective performances during the past year and projections for the 2020 crop season.
"It is the collective responsibility of all of us to work and collaborate with each other to curb the spate of smuggling of our fertilizer to our neighbouring countries," the COCOBOD Chief appealed to the cocoa managers.
Touching on the issue of child labour, Mr. Aidoo drew the attention of the managers to the need for Ghanaian farmers to adopt and apply the framework developed by the former Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare which clearly outlines permissible conditions and areas of work for children of farming parents.
"Because the monitoring of child activity on our cocoa farms appear to be prejudiced and indifferent to our cultural practices, we must all do well to educate our farmers to comply with the most basic regulations governing child labour on our farms," he said.
The week-long Olam Cocoa Managers’ conference also involved classroom sessions in which operational issues pertaining to procurement, quality control protocols, port operations, digitization, sustainability initiatives and operational strategies for achieving Olam Cocoa’s set goals were presented by industry experts.
The conference’s itinerary also included group brainstorming sessions, medical screening and early morning health walks.