Cocoa remains Ghana’s most significant export crop representing just about 40 for every cent of whole exports. Owing to its major international trade earnings, the Federal government of Ghana has established up the Ghana Cocoa Board underneath the Ministry of Finance and Financial scheduling to regulate the sector with the hope of making certain productivity and longterm offer of the crop.
Cocoa farming in Ghana is cultivated by smallholder loved ones farms generally with typical farm dimension of 2 – 3 acres. It is mainly rain fed and instead dominated by adult farmers with an ordinary age of 55 decades while everyday living expectancy in Ghana is established involving 61 – 64 yrs in accordance to the Entire world Overall health Business (WHO) data printed in 2013. In the very last a few (3) seasons, we have found very a considerable increase in the tonnage of cocoa developed in the region, from 850 000 metric tons of cocoa to 950 000 tons of cocoa beans challenge for the 2019/2020 crop year.
Although an improve in efficiency, it also solid a adverse implication in the slide in selling price of cocoa for every tonne as offer outstrips desire. The two the Federal government of Ghana and Cote D`Ivoire lately introduced the Living Money Differentials amidst backlash from some stakeholders.
The intent is to protected or hedge the farmer from any financial downturn and at the exact same time strengthen the typical cocoa farmer in accordance to equally governments. Not so long in the past, the Governing administration of Ghana gained a syndicated mortgage of USD $ 1.3 billion bucks to aid the order of cocoa for the 2019/2020 crop year. This indeed is a big commitment on the govt to procure cocoa and fulfil its mandate by paying out again the financial loan especially in these making an attempt times of COVID19.
Without doubt, COVID-19, have a risk to the prosperous implementation of cocoa sustainability programmes by govt and other similarly critical cocoa providers. Prior to this pandemic, there ended up by now present difficulties bedeviling the cocoa sector.
These involve negative agricultural practices, deforestation & weather transform, pest and ailment infestation – CSSV, ageing farmers and their farms, and the indifference of the youth to enterprise into cocoa farming as a business. In the wake of this pandemic, which has dire implications on the foods provide chain, what can the government of Ghana Cocoa Board and or cocoa companies do otherwise? The next steps are propounded for thing to consider by cocoa provide chain actors:
Scale-up use of e-dollars in cocoa buying
Traditionally, most farmers transact businesses with physical dollars and this has been the norm for many a long time in producing nations around the world like Ghana. In the early 1980`s, COCOBOD introduced the Akuafo Cheque Technique to reduce the physical handling of cash with regards to cocoa obtaining at the farmer amount but this did not survive the check time thanks to very poor enabling natural environment. We have found makes an attempt by other personal corporations like Cargill introducing a digital payment method for buying of cocoa and performing very same for having to pay premiums to farmers.
However some pockets of worries had been observed with regard to internet connectivity notably in the rural locations, it has also proven to generate great results by instilling farmer have confidence in and transparency in their operations. In truth, it has presented this sort of firms some sort of leverage more than their compatriots and as a result has enhanced their obtaining electrical power. The Environment Cocoa Basis (WCF) in partnership with the Greater Than Cash Alliance initiated a pilot task to boost digital payments amongst cocoa price chain actors. The aim was to aid cocoa organizations to changeover from physical dealing with of dollars to electronic transactions specified the enabling ecosystem created by Mobile Community Operators. Underneath this initiative, some member firms of WCF have been skilled and supported to established up electronic payment solutions in their operations.
It is well worth noting that the Ghana Cocoa Board has embraced this innovation by functioning closely with WCF to put into action identical initiative with the Certified Cocoa Potential buyers Affiliation of Ghana (LICOBAG). To this close, some License Purchasing Organizations (LBC) has been assisted to established up electronic payment alternatives with specialized assist from cellular network operator and other Fintechs.
Certainly, the progress of mobile phone and sturdy ICT units in creating countries delivers substantial alternatives for the agricultural sector and at the identical time offers effective promoting programs. The obstacle, on the other hand, has often been on the ability of farmers to efficiently benefit from this technological know-how outside of generating and obtaining phone calls. In other African nations around the world exactly where the electronic innovation has received substantial focus, the use of mobile phones has noticeably improved monetary transactions a circumstance in place is the MPESA of Kenya.
In current situations, the government of Ghana has also introduced fairly a selection of electronic methods cellular community interoperability, the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement Process (GhIPSS) and Proxy Pay back System and many others., all in an exertion to develop the enabling ecosystem for digital innovations to thrive in Ghana. There could not have been any greatest time than now for Ghana Cocoa Board to launch deep into the digital payment space, specially, at a time when actual physical handling of income could pose a threat to human overall health. It will also eradicate any act of corruption and theft, thus instilling a significant sense of rely on and transparency in cocoa operations.
Introduce digital teaching systems for CEAs
A single of the core capabilities of Ghana Cocoa Board is the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED). This is the hub of all specialized know-how on cocoa advancement and progress providing coaching on superior agricultural methods and deploying local community extension agents to aid cocoa farmers in their farm activities. The classic training cascade has been to recruit graduates in agriculture, coach them on cocoa agronomy and deploy them to possibly prepare guide farmers and or straight coach farmers on finest tactics.
Although experience-to-face instruction remains relevant, the latest overall health crisis implies the have to have to modify this solution. I did emphasis in my previously posting, “The COVID 19- A changing planet and a changing tactic to agriculture”, that there would be the have to have to changeover from facial area-to-confront teaching to on the net training such as the use of webinars, tutorial movies etc. Not only will this decrease the spread of contagious diseases but also pave the way for us to take a look at the limitless options the electronic space has to supply.
Some chocolate organizations and cocoa traders are state-of-the-art in the use of ICT or farmers hence may be expedient for COCOBOD to fortify their partnership with the private corporations on this path. Cocoa-website link (initiated by The Hersheys), Farming Solution (Solidaridad) and MergeData (Farmerline) are number of examples of farmer applications tailored for cocoa and owned by private businesses. Other than, some industry experts in the cocoa sector have questioned the efficiency of the common team teaching product and thus have proposed other training methodologies such as coaching techniques for far better adoption of education. It is also about time for government and non-public providers to take into consideration recruiting independent service companies to give qualified expert services such as pruning, cocoa pollination, pesticide spraying and fertilization instantly to cocoa farmers.
This could be a window of chance for numerous unemployed youth in our rural spots to uncover employment and stay in their communities to serve their nation. Cellular phones are predominantly made use of by more youthful generations than the elderly individuals and hence would enjoy any online schooling technologies. This method could appreciably maximize the Agricultural Extension Officer to Farmer ratio which is currently at 1:1300 if all extension workers are deployed.
Introduce Online Product sales Portals for License Obtaining Providers (LBCs)
The Ghana Cocoa Board regulate the invest in of cocoa as a result of 4 (4) main levels Farmer level – Culture level – District Stage – Takeover place (Port). At every single phase there`s a exceptional standard operating technique that assures foodstuff basic safety and traceability. These also contain exclusive identification of models/batches, info on when and the place models are moved or transformed, and a technique linking these info. Ordinarily, at the district stage, Accredited Obtaining Organizations (LBCs) are approved to obtain cocoa from societies.
The district operation arranges transportation to carry cocoa from the society shed to the district depot on a weekly basis. This motion is termed most important evacuation and is supported by a most important evacuation waybill. To this, waybill the Buying Clerk attaches the culture day-to-day agenda, which particulars farmer-by-farmer buys.
This timetable is filed at the district workplace. On arrival at the district depot the high-quality and moisture material of the cocoa are checked (typically in the existence of the farmer) by the Acquiring Clerks.
Bagged cocoa is stored in a district depot until finally there are sufficient baggage to make up a truck load (ordinarily 600 luggage) for evacuation to port (secondary evacuation). In advance of cocoa beans can go through secondary evacuation from the district depot they should undertake a good quality examination by the Excellent Management Division (QCD) of COCOBOD.
Whilst this established up is commendable, could we migrate this on to an on line portal exactly where income announcement would be produced at all ranges right until ultimate vacation spot?
Undeniably, this will not absolutely remove the human interface but the significant takeaway is the reality that it would make accessible huge info for final decision generating system. We have witnessed related on the web portals were gross sales are introduced for off takers to make their requisitions. All transactions are recoded on the net and therefore info accessible at the appropriate time and place.
Typically, on the internet portals are created to offer you people an assortment of the most applied varieties of information and services. Example of an on the net portal for cocoa trading amid private organizations is the UTZ Superior Inside of Portal in the rollout of voluntary cocoa certification techniques. A thing cocoa creating international locations could want to adopt?
Strengthen Cocoa Farmer Cooperative Development
Not so long in the past, the CEO of COCOBOD, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, launched the cocoa farmer cooperatives in Ghana. The launch, which was held in Kumasi, was to officially announce the coverage, and programs to support farmers to variety these types of cooperatives in their different communities throughout the nation.
As captured by the CEO, cocoa farmers have to appear jointly to sort an identifiable group make a documented record of their membership and executives/leaders and then be registered with the Division of Co-operatives, which has the mandate of registering farmer groups into co-operatives.
The cooperatives will then work on behalf of their members for their mutual advantages and develop into qualified for the immediate sourcing of assistance, agrochemical, implements and extension expert services from COCOBOD.
With help from COCOBOD, the cooperatives will also be coached on way to engage lenders in negotiations to entry credit score for farming operations master to acquire above the ongoing Productiveness Improvement Programmes (PEPs) when COCOBOD exits and efficiently implementing calendar-based farm functions to increase the administration and planning for flowering and pod enhancement. Cooperatives, as we know, place in spot a lot more robust and successful farmer groups as when compared to the conventional farmer affiliation.
It provides farmers significantly electrical power and management to be capable to make their own choices and at the similar time raises their bargaining energy. It is about time for farmers to be empowered, accountable and accountable for their possess conclusions. It will be advisable for COCOBOD to reinforce this innovation in collaboration with non-public companies and gurus.
Enhance community processing and consumption of cocoa
Ghana is ranked as the second most significant producer of very good excellent cocoa. Nevertheless, there is minimal processing and intake of the income crop. In accordance to the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Ghanaians take in only 400 grams of chocolate day by day in comparison to other produced countries that take in twice the quantity.
Currently, practically 80% of cocoa manufactured on a yearly basis is exported in uncooked variety. While a several non-public businesses have started out area processing of cocoa, that is not ample to meet up with regional need enabling for the superior importation of foreign-built chocolate.
In Ghana, extremely several providers are engaged in the nearby processing of cocoa aside from CPC and other multinationals. Stats demonstrate that only 10% of the domestically processed cocoa is employed for the generation of confectionery products for the neighborhood industry. Recently, the government announced its intention to carry out insurance policies that will assure that at the very least 50% of Ghana`s cocoa beans are processed locally and consumed. It is in this course that the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) recognized a 60 million greenback Cocoa Processing manufacturing facility at Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region of Ghana. This follows a partnership agreement in between COCOBOD and the Government of China.
The government also introduced a countrywide cocoa consumption marketing campaign thereafter to get all Ghanaians on board throughout the place.
Whiles this is commendable, authorities need to increase its campaign on cocoa usage and get rid of all the bottlenecks to enable indigenous processing organizations to prosper and be a lot more competitive. These contain reviewing trade and taxation guidelines for regional processors, facilitating effortless access to cocoa beans for indigenous organizations without having automatically possessing to contend obtaining at the apex stage, involve usage of chocolate in the college feeding programme to establish taste right from the standard stage and controlling macroeconomic ramifications of COVID-19 on foodstuff offer.
About the creator
Fred Kukubor – BSc Agriculture, MSc Economics, MBA International Management of Sources & Setting.
The author has about 10 years’ experience in sustainable cocoa generation in West Africa. He`s an agribusiness specialist, specialist trainer and impact financial investment.