10 Things To Know About Ghana’s Cocoa Management System
...solution tackles cocoa traceability and introduces a cashless system
Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa beans, with average production around 800,000 metric tonnes per annum.
Experts believe the West African nation has the potential to do more, but for some challenges militating against production efforts.
The problems are multiple-headed, including lack of reliable data for planning, challenges with farm input distribution, beans theft, farmer poverty, smuggling of produce, access to financial services, weighing scale tampering, rampant armed robbery, among others.
As part of a comprehensive solution to address the nipping challenges, Ghana’s cocoa regulator COCOBOD is set to introduce a Cocoa Management System, a one-stop-shop software solution.
Now here are 10 things to note to about the Cocoa management system and how it contributes to solving the challenges at hand:
- All cocoa farms in the country are to be mapped to ascertain the size and extent of farms in the country and their profile, ie age of farms, productivity status, etc
- Every Cocoa farmer in all cocoa-producing regions of Ghana is to be registered. This is hoped to help establish a biometric database of the actual number of cocoa farmers in Ghana, which data will inform policy planning and decision-making. Currently, authorities rely on the estimated figure of 800,000 farming families.
- Farmers will be issued a new biometric ID cum payment card with a unique code, without which no cocoa farmer can sell his or her produce. The farmer’s card will be credited with the value of the transaction in real-time at the point of sale.
- Under the new system, purchasing clerks will also be registered and issued with unique identity codes with which to buy cocoa from the farmer, establishing a clear trail of transactions for easy traceability
- The new biometric ID cards will effectively replace the current farmer’s passbook, as not all farmers possess that.
- Payment centres will be set up within communities, where farmers can redeem their cash with a personal unique code. Agro-input sellers will be onboarded to accept payment from the card as well as supply inputs on credit to such card-bearing farmers
- The system is purposed to eliminate the phenomenon of cocoa beans theft in farming communities, as the amount of beans sold by a farmer at the end of a season must correspond with the farm size recorded on the database.
- It is also hoped the cocoa management system by COCOBOD will end the incidence of armed robbery attacks on farmers and purchasing clerks as it eliminates cash transactions.
- The system has already been piloted successfully in the Ashanti Region, however, the COVID19 pandemic disrupted its planned nationwide implementation.
- With the easing of restrictions, the implementing team is said to have commenced sensitisation and awareness creation in farming communities to ensure massive adoption when it finally takes off.
These 10 points were extracted from an interview conducted by Kumasi-based Oyerepa Radio agric show host, Richmond Frimpong, with Mr Kwadwo Osei Danso, the Ashanti Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) a subsidiary of Ghana Cocoa Board