Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, on Friday 3rd September 2021 closed its Light Crop Season bringing the 2020/21 cocoa crop year to an end.
A circular signed by the acting Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr. Emmanuel A. Opoku, and sighted by Cocoa Post said the closure ends all cocoa purchasing activities for the season.
“In order to assist the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) to obtain the final returns from up-country, Ghana Cocoa Board has decided that returns on the declared purchases will be accepted up to 4:00 pm on Thursday, 9th September 2021,” he stated.
The 2020/21 crop year has been eventful for the West African country, achieving a record production milestone.
Six weeks ago official data from Cocobod had put cocoa beans receipt, as of the time, at 1.033 million tonnes.
Commenting on the feat, the Board’s Chief Executive Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said he anticipated Ghana’s total output for the crop year to hit 1.06 million tonnes by the close of the light crop season.
It is the first time in 10years that the country has exceeded the 1 million tonnes mark in cocoa production, since the 2010/11 crop season’s 1.024 million tonnes.
Speaking to the media a fortnight ago, the Cocobod Chief Executive Joseph Boahen Aidoo, believed a combination of interventions introduced under Cocobod’s Productivity Enhancement Programme including mass pruning, hand pollination, improved fertilizer delivery, better extension services, and good weather accounted for the result.
“Actually all the yield we are seeing is coming from pruning. For the first time, we did mass pruning for 100 percent of all our cocoa farms. Before then we were doing less than 6 percent. It’s the pruning that boosts flowering. Last year we pruned all the 2.6 million acres. So once you do that definitely the results will show,” Aidoo explained.
“We used to have just about 400 extension officers in the country and that translated to one officer is to 3000 farmers, against the FAO standard of 1:500 farmers. Now we have 1:600. It means we are even not at the FAO standard yet, but it’s far better than we used to have some time ago,” he added.
He also lauded cocoa farmers for embracing the PEP interventions and adhering to good agronomic practices under the professional guidance of Cocbod staff.
In spite of the record achievement chalked, the 2020/21 cocoa crop year has not been without its own problems.
Many cocoa farmers continue to complain even as others threatened to give up farmlands over delayed payments for their produce.
The supervising Minister for the cocoa sector, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, links the situation to financial constraints putting some Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) in a weaker position.
“Financing LBCs to purchase cocoa beans is an area that needs to be looked at immediately to reduce constant complaints from farmers,” the Agric Minister stressed while inaugurating a new 11-member Board of Directors for Cocobod.
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