Government over the next seven years has set out to inject a $600million stimulus package into the cocoa sector as a measure to boost cocoa production in the country.
The money which is a credit facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) will serve as a stimulus package for the sector and will be invested in improving the entire value chain of the sector.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo who disclosed these at the Sunday edition of the bi-weekly Minister’s Briefing held here yesterday said the package would target rehabilitation of plantations.
In addition, it would ensure improvement in storage facilities, increase domestic processing as well as stimulate local consumption of cocoa.
Mr Aidoo said government believed that cocoa which was a major pillar of the country’s economy could not be allowed to survive at its own pace but a conscious effort would have to be made by injecting the needed investment into it to ensure speedy growth of the sector.
He said government over the last three years had been working to ensure that the sector became viable and attractive once again following a slump in production from one million metric tonnes in 2010 to 740,000metric tonnes in 2016.
“Cocoa farmers who have been the backbone of the Ghanaian economy already have good news for 2020 in cocoa price structure but now get an additional dose through this stimulus package,” he added.
Mr Aidoo explained that about $140million out of the money would be used in dealing with the swollen shoot diseases which had destroyed a lot of cocoa farms in the Western North Region and gradually spreading to other areas in the country.
Furthermore $200million would be invested in the establishment of factories that would enable the country to process more than half of its cocoa beans before export with $50million invested in the construction of warehouses in cocoa growing areas.
He explained that the absence of a database on cocoa farmers in the country made it difficult for planning. As a result, part of the money would be used to develop a comprehensive data on cocoa farmers in the country.
Mr Aidoo said it was the vision of the President that with the next seven years, the country’s cocoa production would hit 1.5million metric tonnes and already there were signs that government’s efforts were beginning to yield results.
He said cabinet had already approved of the facility and submitted to parliament and it was expected that it would be approved in the coming days.
By Cliff Ekuful, Peduase