The President of the 4th Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo has said in his 2022 State of the Nation Address that the cocoa industry has “marked a lot of interesting and far-reaching achievements this past year, including producing one million, and forty-seven thousand, three hundred and eighty-five tonnes (1,047,385), the highest-ever recorded in Ghana’s history”.
Mr. Akufo-Addo told parliament on Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “Together with our counterparts in Cote d’Ivoire, we have addressed the inequalities in the international marketing system of cocoa by paying a Living Income Differential of four hundred United States dollars ($400) per tonne of cocoa to our farmers. This is a remarkable initiative that cushions the income of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer, the backbone of our economy”.
“I want to draw attention to one other innovation in the industry that appears to be a small item. A non-adjustable electronic weighing scale has been introduced for the purchase of cocoa from our cocoa farmers. This scale, which was introduced at the start of the cocoa season in October, has been approved by the Ghana Standards Authority, it cannot be tampered with by purchasers”, he added.
He said: “The same use of technology to attract more young people into agriculture is continuing with the training of five hundred and thirty-seven (537) youth in the production of high-value vegetables using Greenhouse technology. One hundred and ninety (190) of them have been on an 11-month internship in Israel, and they are back with a lot of enthusiasm. We are expecting great things from them”.
Still, in the agriculture sector, Mr Akufo-Addo said the “successes of the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs have transformed the lives of many farmers around the country”, adding: “I am glad to announce that the Tono Irrigation Dam has been fully rehabilitated, and is back to life and fully operational, and is serving the needs of many farmers in the areas around the dam”.
He said the result of “significant investment by my government in the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project has resulted in the availability of a total of thirteen thousand, one hundred and ninety (13,190) hectares of additional irrigable land, through the rehabilitation of Tono, Kpong Left Bank and Kpong Irrigation Schemes, for rice and vegetable cultivation”.
“Immediate benefits arising from the scheme include improved rice yields increasing from 4.5 tons per hectare to 5.5 tons per hectare, leading to increased production and growth in farm incomes. This has benefitted some fourteen thousand, two hundred and sixty-four (14,264) smallholder beneficiaries directly, creating some forty thousand (40,000) jobs along several value chain activities generated from the irrigation schemes”, the President noted.
“In particular, at the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project, Government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has recently engaged nine (9) large scale investors in addition to smallholder farmers at the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP) who would be producing rice, maize and vegetables on one thousand, three hundred hectares (1,300ha), using modern production technologies to achieve improved productivity and production, within the next three (3) months”, he indicated.
The “government has also invested in the vegetable sector, through the Ghana Peri-urban Vegetable Value Chain Project. We have provided irrigation infrastructure covering a total of five hundred and forty-one (541) hectares, which directly impacts vegetable farmers in the Greater Accra Region. In addition to these farmers, we have also provided inputs and technical support to vegetable farmers at Hikpo in the Volta Region and Asokwa in the Ashanti Region. The project has provided off-taker arrangements for both domestic and international markets”.
Also, he said the construction of eighty (80) warehouses, with a combined storage capacity of eighty-thousand metric tonnes, (80,000MT), has been completed, and their entry into the food production chain is offering better protection to the harvests of farmers.
“There is no doubt that but for the vigorous interventions we have made in agriculture in the past five years, which have made us more self-reliant in our food needs, our country would have been at much greater risk as the fallout from the dramatic worldwide increases in freight charges hit prices in our markets and on our supermarket shelves”.