The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is set to create a new coffee division to intensify support for the sub-sector through research, extension support and regulation of marketing and processing activities.
The move is part of a broader plan to revolutionise the coffee sector to consolidate recent gains made through the government’s coffee development programmes to propel coffee to a similar status as cocoa in Ghana.
These remarks were contained in the keynote address of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo–Addo, read on his behalf by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto at the virtual opening ceremony of the 2020 Conference of the Inter-African Coffee Organization held in Accra.
‘We have created the Tree Crop Development Authority, which is put in place policies and programmes to guide research, production, pricing and marketing of several cash crops. The aim is to rapidly increase production, support processing and export of these commodities, including coffee to the neighbouring countries’, the statement noted.
The President indicated that changing tastes and preferences caused by sizable and urbanized population with high incomes and increased demand for products such as coffee in Africa presents opportunities for the African private sector to increase value addition of agricultural produce.
Touching on the Continental Free Trade, President Akufo-Addo said there is a great opportunity for intra-African trade adding, ‘it will open up markets to African produce thereby spurring production and processing of various agricultural products’.
‘However, for this to materialize, the African private sector will require supportive infrastructural development, to facilitate movement of raw and finished products, telecommunications and cost-effective energy to fuel agro-industries. Technological transfers that will allow efficient (lower cost) manufacturing will also be needed, in order for agro-based products to remain competitive within the African market’, he disclosed.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana had made progress as the energy sector, rail networks and road infrastructure in the country remain robust and have been expanded to promote trade relations between the country and the rest of the world. He added that the initiative is necessary to achieve the ‘Exports Beyond Aid Agenda’ which includes the Planting for Foods and Jobs and the Planting for Exports and Rural Development Programmes.
In addition to infrastructure provision, the President said the African Coffee sector needs to adequately address production bottlenecks including climate change as well as the low international coffee prices which have huge impact on smallholder producers.
He expressed optimism that the meeting would come up with meaningful solutions and remedies to foster a sustainable African coffee sector that ensures a prosperous future for all actors within the value chain.
‘Such recommendations are very important to enrich our country level programmes and strategies targeting the coffee industry’, he said