Weather affects cocoa production in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire
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Weather affects cocoa production in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo, has stated that the recent spike in cocoa prices at the international level was as a result of a decline in production in the main producer countries - Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

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He said that was due to climate change, especially the rainy season, which was shorter than it used to be and the intensity of heat. He said the situation implied that the country did not receive adequate rainfall, impacting negatively on cocoa production and resulting in low yields.

Mr Aidoo made this known at the second delegates conference of the Cocoa Research Institute Workers Union (CRIWU-TUC) at New Tafo in the Abuakwa North Municipality in the Eastern Region.

The conference was on the theme: "The Impact of Climate Change on the Cocoa Sector; Adaptation and Mitigation Measures; The Role of the Worker". The event, which was to take stock of CRIG activities last year and plan for the future, was attended by workers of the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIG), traditional rulers, the clergy and some farmers in the area.

Mr Aidoo said Ghana had to adapt to climate change and fortunately, the country had the infrastructure in place to aid adaptation and mitigation with respect to cocoa cultivation.

CRIG's preparedness

The COCOBOD CEO indicated that CRIG workers were prepared to help address the impact of climate change on cocoa production. He said the government, through the COCOBOD, would continue to provide the resources to support CRIG researchers and scientists to come up with new breeds of climate-resistant cocoa.

Industrial harmony

Mr Aidoo, who was confident that Ghana could address the challenges posed by climate change on cocoa production, said that could be possible if the industrial harmony that was currently being enjoyed at CRIG and the other units within COCOBOD was maintained.

He was optimistic that both management and workers of CRIG would come together to overcome the challenge. With regard to the purchases of cocoa from farmers, Mr Aidoo said COCOBOD, its agencies and the government had helped to provide a measure of price stability and ready market for farmers.

He said that singular intervention had been critical to the expansion of the cocoa industry. Mr Aidoo said the provision or sale of seeds and the purchase of cocoa outputs had been identified as some of the initial critical success factors in the development of the cocoa industry.

Illegality

Touching on the galamsey menace to cocoa cultivation, he said legally no person or cocoa farmer had the right to give out cocoa farms to illegal miners because cocoa was the mainstay of the economy.

Mr Aidoo, therefore, warned cocoa farmers to desist from such acts or they would be arrested. Giving the background, he said the role cocoa had played in the history and development trajectory of Ghana had never been in doubt.

Cocoa, Mr Aidoo stated, had been the lifeblood of Ghana and until recently was the largest foreign exchange earner for the country. He said cocoa currently ranked the third largest foreign exchange earner after gold and oil.

The COCOBOD CEO said the cocoa industry had contributed significantly to total employment by engaging nearly a million Ghanaians.

Exports

He further stated that for a very long time, cocoa accounted for more than half of the country's total export and that in 1950, cocoa contributed 71 per cent of the country's total export and 82 per cent in 1927.

Mr Aidoo urged CRIG researchers to educate cocoa farmers on the best practices of cocoa cultivation.

Hope

For his part, the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah, said although climate change was the problem, researchers and scientists of CRIG should not throw up their hands in despair but rather work to address the issue.

He said the researchers must, therefore, ensure that cocoa production thrived for the next 20 years and beyond. Dr Baah called for a concerted effort to stop the destruction of cocoa farms.

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