Ghana Cocoa Board expects production to reach 1.06 million tonnes for the 2020/21 season, the Chief Executive Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said on Thursday.
He said with six weeks to the end of the season, the Board had recorded 1.033 million tonnes, beating the previous record of 1.024 million metric tonnes in the 2010/ 2011 crop season.
Mr Boahen Aidoo was speaking at an event to introduce new weighing scales to be used by Licensed Buying Companies for purchases when the new cocoa season begins on October 1, 2021.
Mr Boahen Aidoo attributed the achievement to the efforts of the hardworking farmers and the several interventions introduced by COCOBOD to increase the yield.
“This achievement has never happened in the history of our cocoa industry. Not withstanding the negative impact of COVID-19, our hardworking farmers have broken the existing record,” he said, adding that all stakeholders in the cocoa production line must be applauded.
Mr Boahen Aidoo said the provision of improved seeds and fertilizer as well as mass pruning exercise undertaken by the Board contributed to the increase in yield.
“We at COCOBOD also did a lot of work with the various stakeholders such as the License Buying Companies, Extension Officers, the Quality Control Unit, researchers and the farmers to achieve this target.”
Mr. Boahen Aidoo expressed optimism that production in the 2021/2022 crop season will exceed the current target due to the US$400 Living Income Differential (LID) which directly goes to farmers.
“We are very sure that as the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, the consumption of chocolate will go up and this will lead to an increase in demand for cocoa. When this happens, the Ghanaian cocoa farmer will be better off.”
He assured that COCOBOD will continue to put the Ghanaian farmer first to benefit from the sale of the commodity.
As part of measures to ensure that farmers are not cheated, Mr. Boahen Aidoo announced that effective October 1, 2021, which marks the beginning of the new crop season, electronic weighing machines will be used by License Buying Companies across the country.
He said COCOBOD had already secured 40,000 pieces of the new weighing scale machines to be purchased by the License Buying Companies.
“This issue of weighing, and cheating cocoa farmers has created a lot of problems, mistrust and disagreement in the cocoa industry. So, we have these weighing scales that can rely on both solar and electricity so that it can work in remote places,” he said.
Based on research with the Ghana Standard Authority, Mr. Boahen Aiddo stated that the new electronic weighing scales cannot be tampered with to protect the farmers.
He stressed that the new system will enhance fairness and protect the integrity of the processes.
He warned all License Buying Companies to abide by the new directive to avert sanctions by the regulator.
“This new electronic scale is sealed. The issues of tampering with scales will stop because with this new scale, once you tamper with it, it gets spoilt,” he said.