Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, has said at the launch of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) $600m syndicated loan facility on 23rd June 2020, that despite Ghana priding itself as the second largest cocoa producing country in the world, huge challenges exist in the sector.
Key among these challenges, he said, are low productivity resulting from aged and diseased farms, low prices of cocoa on the world market and low per capita consumption of cocoa products.
“In an effort to curtail, these challenges, we instituted a number of Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) and other policy interventions. Among these are: Re-launching of the Cocoa Diseases and Pest Control Programme (CODAPEC); Enhancement of the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme with new incentives to landowners and farmhands; Introduction of a National Hand Pollination Programme; Introduction of a Mass Prunning Programme; Piloting of a Cocoa Farm Irrigation Programme; Launching of a National Cocoa Consumption campaign to make cocoa a household food in Ghana, and; Landmark introduction of Living Income Differential (LID) pricing mechanism to boost the incomes of farmers.”
He further stated that apart from the LID which will be fully implemented in October, 2020, the benefits of all the other interventions are already been enjoyed by cocoa farmers across the country.
“In view of the capital requirements for a successful implementation of these interventions, Ghana Cocoa Board began negotiations with the AfDB and other international bodies to provide funding for these laudable programmes.
“As has been mentioned earlier by the Chief Executive, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) including Credit Suisse AG, Development Bank of South Africa the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited and other International agencies, signed a $600 million syndicated receivables-backed loan facility with Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in February 2020 to facilitate the ongoing Productivity Enhancement Programs (PEPs) in Ghana. $200 million of this amount has already been released.”