Ghana’s cocoa farmers have applauded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the unprecedented increase in the producer price of cocoa in the 2024 season, among other interventions.
Mr Charles Gyemfi, President of the Best Cocoa Farmers Association, who gave the commendation when the Association paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House, said the Association appreciated the President’s support and commitment to the cocoa sector.
Numbering about 50, the farmers included the National Best Cocoa Farmers, National Best Young Farmers and the Best Enterprising Female Cocoa farmer.
Mr Gyemfi, 2018 National Best Cocoa Farmer and 2019 National Best Farmer, said the Association was in disbelief when the government announced the 2023/2024 producer price of cocoa, adding: “If it goes on like that, we will not give you showdown but show up.”
Before 2017, he said the cocoa industry was hit by a swollen shoot virus disease, which nearly wiped out cocoa trees, but the government intervened to cut down the trees, compensate farmers and grow new ones at no cost to the farmers.
That, Mr Gyemfi indicated, did not only eradicate the disease but also brought about increased production of foodstuff that were planted alongside the crops that brought additional income to them.
“We recognised the efforts of the government in uplifting the industry with initiatives such as the provision of mechanisation and irrigation, pruning, hand pollination, strategic early mass spraying and value addition,” he added.
He spoke about the assistance the government had extended to the Association, which helped create about 8,000 cooperatives and farmer groups.
Mr Gyemfi appealed to the government to ensure that enough funds were available to immediately pay farmers when they sold their cocoa at the beginning of the season to forestall smuggling.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo expressed gratitude to the farmers for recognising the efforts of the government and commended them for their hard work in contributing significantly to the country’s economy over the years.
The farmers were led by COCOBOD’s Chief Executive and the Board Chairman, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Mr Peter Mac Manu and Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Bryan Acheampong.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD