The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has celebrated the hundreds of thousands of cocoa farmers across the country responsible for the production of cocoa.
At an event at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi, on Monday, 2nd October, 2017, to mark World Cocoa Day, President Akufo-Addo congratulated Board of Directors, Management and Staff of COCOBOD for 70 years of its existence.
The President stated: “in their hundreds and hundreds of thousands, they worked to provide us the income with which we have built our nation’s infrastructure and its most important educational institutions.”
The history of Ghana’s cocoa, he said, cannot be complete without mention of the legendary Ghanaian, Tetteh Quarshie, through whose efforts the cocoa industry was established and nurtured.
The President added that the celebration of World Cocoa Day should be a day where Ghanaians recollect also those great patriots who led the agitation, in the Gold Coast, in seeking just and fair rewards for the country’s cocoa farmers, an agitation that resulted, eventually, in the establishment of the Cocoa Marketing Board.
Despite supplying the half of world’s cocoa tonnage by 1935, 60 years after the arrival of Tetteh Quarshie from Fernando Po, President Akufo-Addo noted that cocoa farmers in the Gold Coast did not have any say in the price paid for their products.
“This is part of the monumental contribution of cocoa farmers to the development of our country, and I think it appropriate that, on this occasion, we recollect these facts, in order to give credit to those to whom credit is due,” President Akufo-Addo said acknowledging Dr. Danquah and others who worked to make cocoa production and viable sector in the country.
President Akufo-Addo, in his admonition to the new Board of Directors and Management of COCOBOD, urged them to “put behind them the era of systemic mismanagement, gross financial malfeasance and flagrant misappropriation of funds that allegedly characterised the running of COCOBOD in the recent past.”
To the Ghanaian people, he said, demand accountability and the judicious use of COCOBOD funds, “and I know you will not disappoint them.”
President Akufo-Addo was confident that with the reintroduction of the Cocoa Diseases and Pest Control Programme (CODAPEC), otherwise known as mass cocoa spraying exercise, on 7th August, 2017, at Dansokrom in Sefwi Wiawso, together with the provision of subsidised fertilizer to farmers, “we will regain our pride of place in the cocoa industry.”
President Akufo-Addo revealed further that as part of measures to improve productivity, the Ministry of Finance no longer exercises oversight ministerial responsibility over the cocoa industry, which has been the previous practice. “The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is now responsible for all matters relating to the cocoa industry, a step which aids in the effective formulation of the relevant, coherent policies required for boosting agricultural productivity, including cocoa productivity,” he added.