By Christopher Arko, GNA
Accra, June 27, GNA – Mr. George Kwame Aboagye, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asene Akroso-Manso, has called for increased government support to cocoa farmers to boost production levels.
This should include strengthening of extension services to enable them to adopt better farming techniques, supply of equipment and access to credit.
In a statement made on the floor of the House, he said more should be done to make cocoa farming attractive to the youth.
Mr. Aboagye also underlined the need to focus priority on adding value to the nation’s raw cocoa beans through processing into chocolate and other cocoa products.
Cocoa is Ghana’s second leading foreign exchange earner, accounting for about 30 percent of all revenue and 70 percent of the overall agricultural export.
The country has been contributing 20 percent of the global supply of cocoa.
He applauded government’s interventions including the mass cocoa spraying, fertilizer subsidy, inputs distribution and extension support.
There however remained challenges that needed to be tackled - pest and disease attack, low productivity due to limited knowledge about modern farming techniques, limited access to finance to purchase input supplies and quality planting material.
Mr. Aboagye expressed concern about the ageing farming population and said that could seriously affect the nation’s cocoa production.
His other worry was the price volatility on the international market, saying, it posed greatest threat to the cocoa industry.
Mr. John Jinapor, MP for Yapei Kusawgu, in his contribution called for the government to continue to place emphasis on the cocoa sector given its contribution to the economy.
He asked that appropriate steps were taken to reduce cocoa pest and disease attack on farms and to improve agronomical practices.
Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire between them produce about 60 percent of the world cocoa yet they had been earning less than six percent of the revenue.
This, he said, should not continue and must change. There should be value addiction.
He urged government to continue to provide cheap and available source of credit to cocoa farmers alongside the supply of high yielding cocoa varieties.