After a robust election campaign and a lull of no parliamentary activity, there's been a flurry activity in recent days with the legislature in Cape Town rolling out the red carpet welcoming newly elected members of parliament (MPs).
Ghana gives incentives to cocoa farmers to boost yields
The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has distributed 50 million improved free seedlings to the farmers in cocoa growing communities across the country as part of the initiative.
though they say it is free but we always pay something to the officers. If you don’t pay they won’t give you
“For the 2014/2015 cocoa season, the Cocobod will continue the free fertiliser application – Hi-tech – programme for cocoa farms,” Mahama said in his state of the nation address last week.
“Ahead of that, it [Cocoboard] has recruited 4,000 people in 87 cocoa growing communities who have planted and are nursing the seedlings.”
The government has raised the producer price of cocoa by nearly 63 percent, from 3,392 cedis per tonne to 5,520 per tonne.
Farmers were also given cocoa fertilisers to help increase the yields from below 10 bags of cocoa per hectare to 19 bags.
However, farmers have complained that the inputs scheme, though timely, is riddled with corruption.
“I have received 20 bags of fertilizers for my four acres’ farm, though they say it is free but we always pay something to the officers. If you don’t pay they won’t give you,” a 37-year-old former, Moro Ayana told The Africa Report.
Cocobod’s Cocoa Health and Extension division asked the farmers to report any official demanding cash in exchange for the inputs to law enforcement agents.
Meanwhile, the government is implementing a pension scheme for cocoa farmers to entice more growers.
Cocobod official Ignatius Pumpuni said a policy framework for the scheme had been completed.
Pumpuni advised cocoa farmers whose trees were over 30 years old to cut down them down and replant in order to improve yields.
The Cocobod early this year took delivery of 23 motorcycles worth 276,000 cedis from Mondelez International Cocoa Life to enhance cocoa extension service delivery.
The programme was largely meant to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in rural communities.
Cocoa Touton Processing Company Limited (CTPC), a subsidiary of Touton S.A. of France, also signed a bean supply agreement with the board to process cocoa beans locally.
Cocoa plays an important role in Ghana’s economy, with about 800,000 families spread over six of the ten regions making a living from growing the crop.
The crop generates about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually and is a major contributor to government revenues.