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Business News of Saturday, 24 October 2020

Source: GNA

Ghana's cocoa management goes digital

Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia on Friday launched the Cocoa Management System (CMS) to create a comprehensive digital database for cocoa farmers for effective and efficient management of the cocoa industry.

The CMS is an online portal that will capture the demographics of cocoa farmers, farm sizes, input supplies, payment transactions and facilitate the roll out of the Cocoa Farmers' Pension Scheme.

Vice President Bawumia, speaking at the launch in Accra, said the System would be a game-changer for the cocoa industry, enhance transparency and help bring total transformation in the sector.

He entreated the Management of COCOBOD to build in-house capacity to manage the System to ensure its sustainability.

He called for collaboration between all stakeholders in the cocoa industry for effective implementation of the programme.

Dr Bawumia urged the media to undertake sensitisation drive to educate cocoa farmers and all players in the cocoa value chain for successful implementation.

He lauded the Management of COCOBOD for implementing various innovative initiatives over the past three and half years, saying that, the CMS was in tandem with the Government's digitisation agenda to formalise the economy.

He said digitisation was revolutionalising the global economy, therefore it was imperative to leverage on information technology to enhance productivity and promote accountability and transparency.

The Vice President outlined various interventions rolled out by the Akufo-Addo-led government to improve the income and livelihoods of cocoa farmers in the country.

They include; hand pollination, pruning, and irrigation of cocoa farmers, supply of subsidised fertilizers and farm inputs, as well as the introduction of living income differential and increase in cocoa prices recently.

Dr Bawumia also mentioned digital infrastructure initiatives rolled out to generally formalise the Ghanaian economy including the digital property addressing system, national identification system and mobile money interoperability payment system.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD,said the Management of COCOBOD over the past three and half years were implementing initiatives to address the myriad of challenges be-devilling the cocoa industry.

He mentioned some of the initiatives as early spraying, hand pollination, supply of slashes, pruning and irrigation of some cocoa farms to ensure all-year round water.

He was of the conviction that, the CMS if fully implemented, would create a central database for cocoa farmers, create inter and intra connectivity generation of cocoa industry players and transform the industry for the better.

Mr George Oduro, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the government had adopted mechanisation programmes to accelerate economic growth and make cocoa farming attractive to the Ghanaian youth.

He said government had supplied 100,000 motorized slashes to cocoa farmers, embarked on irrigation in some cocoa farmers and continued the fertilizer subsidisation programme to improve cocoa production.

The Deputy Minister was of the belief that the CMS would help eliminate fraud, theft and myriad of challenges facing the cocoa industry.

Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, President of Cocoa, Coffee and Cashew Farmers Association, on behalf of the association, thanked the Government for introducing major innovative initiatives to better the lots of cocoa farmers, which had also reduced the drudgery of farming and made it attractive for the Ghanaian youth.

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