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Make cocoa industry more attractive by supporting farmers – WCFO President tells government

The President of the World Cocoa Farmers organization (WCFO) Mr. Abraham K. Adusei has appealed to the government to urgently address some of the major challenges facing the cocoa industry with with provision of basic social amenities to the cocoa growing areas to make the industry attractive.

According to Mr K. Adusei, cocoa is the backbone of the country but they are left to their own faith, “how can we leave the city and go to the village with no drinking water, no electricity, poor road network, no hospitals, and poor schools, the risk of diseases, inconsistent rains and buyers forcing farmers to sell at rock-bottom prices that will make their life’s better,”.

‘’Though the contributions of farmers from the area to Ghana’s cocoa production have been significant, their communities had been neglected over the years, there are no hospitals, portable drinking water and schools in the communities and that several appeals to government over the years for the provision of the facilities have fallen on deaf ears’’,  WCFO President observed .

Speaking at the  Annual Global Conference WCFO in Kumasi on Tuesday December 10, 2019 Mr K. Adusei noted that lack of available fertilizers as well as other equipment needed on their farms, to yield the required results, a situation he says is hampering effective farming business. The Global Conference brought  together cocoa farmers from more than 10 cocoa growing countries including Ghana has the host nation, Togo, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Brazil, Venezuela, DR Congo and more.

The aim of the organization is to have a common voice for all cocoa farmers in the world to be able to address their concerns and to seek their welfare.  Mr. Abraham K. Adusei  also appealed to the government to provide them a sustainable pension scheme. says the pension scheme will improve the welfare of cocoa farmers once they retire to help them have a source of income.  Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in September 2019 announced that the government is working with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to design and implement a sustainable pension scheme for cocoa farmers across the country.

The Pension Scheme, he said when operational, is expected to improve the welfare of cocoa farmers, coming on the heels of a global agreement to pay cocoa farmers a living income differential from the next crop buying season which begins on October 1, 2020. Mr. Abraham K. Adusei bemoaned the spate at which politicians have paid lip service to cocoa farmers who have over the years contributed immensely to the growth of Ghana’s economy. “Politician always promise cocoa farmers during campaign but when they get into power they abandon us. Cocoa farmers are really suffering especially in rural areas; COCOBUD has been in the country for 70 years now but their performance is very poor,” he emphasized.

On his part, the Bantamahene, Baafour Owusu Amankwatia VI who represented His Royal Majesty Otumfour Osei Tutu Ababio II, Asantehene as the speech guest applause the formation of the organization. He encouraged all cocoa farmers to join hands to champion their course.

Baafour Owusu Amankwatia  VI  called for urgent action on climate change  in order to sustainable cocoa production adding that cocoa is likely to disappear in the next four decades if global warming continues to be a big problem. “Farmers in cocoa growing countries such as Ghana may not be able to cultivate the important crop if urgent action is not taken to mitigate the effects of climate change,” he said. “The cocoa industry is quite clear that if climate change runs rampant, there is a danger of us not having any cocoa being able to be produced in forty years. Climate change is likely to affect global food production. Agriculture is threatened by extreme climatic events such as droughts or floods enhanced by climate change,” Baafour Amankwatia VI emphasized.

 Baafour Owusu Amankwatia VI called on Cocoa farmers in Ghana to prioritise their children’s education and desist from using them as “labourers” on their farms. He said the core responsibility of every parent was to send their children to school, protect them from harm, abuses, child marriage, child trafficking, kayaye and child prostitution and not to engage them in hard labour.  he described as “criminal” for any parent to deny a child formal education and that it was punishable by law and attracted a penalty of one year imprisonment or a fine of GhC500.00 or both.

“Children are the future leaders of our country and it is the duty of those of us in leadership; traditional rulers, religious leaders, parents and the society at large to develop them for the future,” he added.  Baafour Owusu applauded Ghanaian and Ivory Coast governments for taking the initiative to determine the prices of cocoa at the world market.

 

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