Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday commended the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for ensuring high cocoa production in 2010/2011 season for the development of the country.
COCOBOD recently announced that cocoa purchases in the 2010/2011 season reached 1,024,000 metric tonnes, a production level which Parliament has described as remarkable for the growth of the nation’s economy.
Contributions of MPs followed a statement by Isaac Osei, former Chief Executive of the COCOBOD, who commended the Board for a job well done.
According to the Subin MP, the achievements by the Board holds important lessons for all who are interested in poverty reduction scheme and the modernization and development of the agricultural sector in Ghana. The achievement by COCOCOB, Mr. Osei noted, was as a result of various programmes put in place by successive governments since independence.
He noted that upon assumption of office in 2001, President John Kufuor, who was committed to the growth of the cocoa sector, directed the Board to make concrete plans to reduce the incidence of pests and diseases which were ravaging the cocoa trees which culminated in the cocoa spraying exercise.
He praised Kwame Sarpong, former Chief Executive and his team for ensuring that the mass cocoa spraying exercise or Cocoa Disease and Pest Control (CODAPEC) was institutionalized.
This, Mr. Isaac Osei pointed out, helped Ghana to exceed 730,000 metric-tonnes in 2004, up from about 380, 000 metric-tonnes. The CODAPEC, he further observed, led directly to at least 50 percent increase in yields on existing farms to boost the income of farmers.
Furthermore, a highly technological programme combined with CODAPEC and special fertilizer application as well as the use of new hybrid seedlings were designed by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) at Tafo.
According to him, the new hybrid seedlings, which were largely disease and drought resistant, took about three years to fruit as against eight years for the Amelenado and Amazonia seedling which were widely used in Ghana.
He emphasized that it was in 2006 that COCOBOD was able to announce a new record of 740,000 metric tonnes and subsequently announced to stakeholders and the general public that a new industry target of one million metric-tonnes had been set.
The Subin MP pointed out was that the Board invested in yield enhancing schemes especially the multiplication of hybrid seeds by the seed production unit, quality assurance systems and provided a new quality assurance subsidiary with the capacity to produce pre-shipment certificates of analysis, trade logistics infrastructure in anticipation of increased throughput.
According to him, the Board completed 50,000 metric-tonnes warehouse and a cargo village at Kajebril in the Western region.
He entreated COCOBOD to deal with the issue of production sustainability in the future and address topical issues like chemical residues, child labor and certification, issues regarding value addition, tertiary conversion, domestic consumption and niche matters such as fine and flavor, large beans and fair trade.
For her part, the Speaker of Parliament, Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo directed that the statement by Isaac Osei and remarks by members be presented to COCOBOD. This, according to her, was the House’s recognition of the achievement of COCOBOD in the cocoa sub-sector.
Source: Daily Guide
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