$1.3b cocoa loan approved
Parliament has approved the $1.3 billion cocoa syndicated loan for the 2017/18 crop season.
This comes on the back of calls from the Minority in Parliament for the Stabilisation Fund to be used to increase the price at which cocoa is bought from farmers.
Government has promised to increase cocoa production to more than one million tonnes per annum within the next four years.
Presenting the mid-year Budget Review and Economic Planning statement to Parliament on Monday, 31 July 2017, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said: “Ghana’s cocoa output which was over one million tonnes in 2010/2011crop year has declined to an average figure of 830,000 per annum in the past five years. It is the objective of government to reverse this declining trend and to increase production to more than one million tonnes per annum within the next four years.”
To achieve this, he said Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has rolled out the artificial pollination programme aimed at increasing productivity of cocoa farmers from an average of 450 kilogrammes per hectare to over 1000 kilogrammes per hectare.
“Cocobod has trained and deployed 10,000 hand pollinators to assist famers. It is projected that 24,000 hectares of farms will be pollinated in 2017 and you can expect an increase to 30,000 hectares in the next three years,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
Touching on further steps taken by government to boost cocoa production, Mr Ofori-Atta noted that in light of the estimated 22 per cent of the current cocoa trees classified as overage or CSSVD-infected, Cocobod, with support from government, has continued the cocoa rehabilitation programme.
He added that Cocobod has also reformed the mass cocoa spraying exercise to involve greater private sector participation and farmer ownership.