Stakeholders in the cocoa industry have pledged their support to Cargill in its bid to adopt sustainable ways of improving the cocoa sector and delivering increased benefit to Ghanaian farmers.
A statement from Cargill said the ministers of Food and Agriculture, Trade and Industry, executives of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, made the commitment during separate courtesy calls on them by a delegation from Cargill, led by its President, Mr Harold Poelma.
It said the visits followed the recent launch of Cargill’s Ghana’s Licensed Buying Company; Kokoo Sourcing Ltd.
The statement quoted Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten, the Minister of Trade and Industry, as saying; “We all know Cargill and their history with the cocoa sector in Ghana. I am glad that they are expanding their business lines after about 10 years of setting up their processing facility in Tema, which I and His Excellency, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, commissioned.”
It said government’s key focus was to make the private sector the engine of economic growth adding; “as a ministry, we will make our expertise available to you in order that communities where you operate benefit fully from your business.”
The statement quoted the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, as saying; “We are aware that the cocoa-value chain faces a lot of challenges from planting to processing of the beans. In order to sustain the sector, government is placing considerable emphasis on these issues.
“With support from key players like Cargill, we can cut down post-harvest losses, give technical training to farmers to enhance productivity, support farmer groups and add value to our beans locally.”
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, on his part, extolled the achievement of Cargill in the global cocoa sector urging it to be more focused on improving the livelihood of the Ghanaian farmer as it ventured into new operations in Ghana.
“We have known Cargill all these years. I am excited to have you here. I will urge you to give serious attention to the livelihoods of cocoa farmers. As you said in your remarks, Ghana is cocoa and cocoa is Ghana and this is only true because of our hardworking farmers. The only way to sustain the sector is for all the players to support the farmers,” the statement said.
The delegation also visited the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) where they discussed COCOBOD’s vision for the cocoa sector and the strategic role that Cargill could play in achieving potential future investments.
The Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in charge of Quality Control and Assurance, Dr Adu Ampomah, who led the discussion, was quoted as saying: “We are inviting all players in the industry on board as we work to improve the cocoa sector and achieve the President’s target of one million tonnes annual production.
“You can be assured of our utmost support as we jointly work for the cocoa sector in Ghana”.