President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated the commitment of his government towards ensuring that the country’s farmers reap much greater value from their toil.
According to President Akufo-Addo, startling statistics have revealed that with Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire accounting for more than 60% of the world’s cocoa output, the two countries, together, earned some $5.75 billion out of the sale of cocoa beans in 2015.
This, the President said, means that the farmers whose toil and sweat produced 60% plus of the world’s cocoa, earned 5.75% of the global value of their activity, from a chocolate market which was worth some $100 billion in 2015.
This, the President stressed, “cannot, and should not continue.”
It is for this reason, the President revealed, that “the time has now come for us to enter into different kinds of commercial interests. We are looking to seeing more of the processing and value-enhancing aspects of the development of the cocoa industry here in Ghana. That is a major preoccupation for my government, and we are fashioning policies to this end.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known in Accra yesterday when the Europe Chocolate Category President of one of the world’s largest snacks companies, Mondelēz International, Inc., Mary Barnard, paid a courtesy call on him at the Presidency.
Mary Barnard’s call on the President was to familiarise herself with the company’s operations in Ghana, and also to expand the company’s “Cocoa Life” project, which “works with partners to transform communities by linking improvements in productivity with progress towards development goals.”
The ‘Cocoa Life’ project aims to “provide knowledge and skills to improve cocoa families’ livelihoods and opportunities, inspiring a new generation of growers.”
President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana’s association with companies like Mondelēz International should make it possible for some of the company’s operations, i.e. the manufacturing of some of their chocolate brands, to be done in Ghana.
This, the President explained, “will be a significant step forward for us to realise greater value for our farmers. Inasmuch as consumers are interested in knowing the sources of supply of their cocoa and be satisfied with the quality, our farmers are also now also very interested in the other end of the market, and interested in what can be done to increase their share of the value chain. It is a matter that is of preoccupation of our government.”
President Akufo-Addo noted that the general posture of his government is to ensure the value-enhancing aspects of the exploitation of the country’s natural resources, and move Ghana away from being a mere producer of raw materials.
“It served as for certain periods of our development, it cannot continue to serve us going forward into the 21st century,” he added.
Mary Barnard assured President Akufo-Addo that whilst Mondelēz International does not “own all aspects of the supply chain,” the company is committed to discussions and partnerships with Ghana to help “develop the incomes of farmers.”