Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has revealed that the government is targeting increasing cocoa production in the country to about 1.5 million metric tonnes through a new stimulus package which will invest at least US$600 million into the cocoa sector over a seven-year period.
The Minister speaking at the press interaction on Sunday said the stimulus package would target rehabilitation of plantations, improvement in storage and domestic processing, stimulation of local consumption as well as efforts to increase output on farms among others within a 7-year period.
Ghana’s current cocoa production is estimated to be about 800,000 tonnes with the sector facing a number of challenges such as crop diseases, aging trees, and farmers, loss of farms to other crops among other issues threatening to send coco production downwards further.
With the stimulus package, the government is hopeful of nearly doubling the current production output to cement Ghana’s place as the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa beans after Cote’Ivoire which is set to produce 2.15 million tonnes of the cash crop this year.
“The Akufo-Addo administration acting through COCOBOD will inject a US$600 million stimulus package into the cocoa sector through a Cocoa Productivity Enhancement Program which will among other things step up Ghana’s production to 1.5 million tonnes by 2027.”
“The [Akufo-Addo] Administration believes that Cocoa, being a major pillar of our economy cannot be allowed to survive at its own pace. 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.”
Cocoa sector’s recovery
The news of the stimulus package follows efforts by the two leading cocoa producers to make the most of the sector for their two respective countries.
The two countries, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, earlier this year as part of efforts to reform the industry, imposed a fixed “living income differential” of US$400 a tonne on all cocoa contracts sold by either country for the 2020/21 crop season.
The premium replaced an earlier proposal to cocoa beans buyers for a floor price for cocoa contracts, which is part of a wider plan to combat poverty among farmers in the two countries which supply at least 60 percent of the world’s cocoa beans.