The government has announced plans to inject US$600 million into the cocoa sector.
The funds, being sourced from the African Development Bank (AfDB) will finance various initiatives such as mass cocoa spraying exercises, agronomic support and input subsidies for farmers to help increase production.
This is one of the major fall outs from a Cabinet Retreat which has been taking place at Peduase in the Eastern Region since last Thursday.
It is the 64th Cabinet Meeting of the Akufo-Addo administration and a 7th retreat of the present Cabinet.
The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah made this known at a press briefing Sunday afternoon at Peduase.
The stimulus package is aimed at increasing cocoa production by moving away from the annual syndication to a capital investment over a 7-year period.
About US$330million of the funds will go directly to support cocoa farmers whilst the rest would be used to support processing of cocoa beans locally in Ghana before export.
It is the plan of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ensure that about 50 per cent of cocoa beans are processed locally before export.
A total of US$200million of the funds is to be used to support processing locally.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that the Akufo-Addo administration is acting through the Cocobod for the stimulus package through a Cocoa Productivity Enhancement Programme, which will among other things step up Ghana’s production to 1.5million tones by 2027.
The stimulus, he said will target rehabilitation of plantations, improvement in storage and domestic processing, stimulation of local consumption as well as efforts to increase output on farms among others and spans a 7-year period.
“The Administration believes that Cocoa, being a major pillar of our economy cannot be allowed to survive at its own pace. Cocoa farmers who have been the backbone of the Ghanaian economy already have good news for 2020 in cocoa price structure but now get an additional dose through this stimulus package,” he said.
Explaining the stimulus package, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo said the move was an initiative by President Akufo-Addo who together with the Ivorian President. Alasane Ouattara, approached the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the facility, since Ivory Coast is also sourcing $600million.
He said Cabinet has since approved the facility and awaiting Parliamentary approval for Ghana to go ahead and source the funds.
more to follow…