Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has intimated that government is pursuing policy initiatives that will ensure sustainable growth in the cocoa sector.
Delivering the opening address at a high-level Conference on Sustainable Cocoa Dialogue,;the Minister stated that government is implementing programs and strategies that will facilitate the growth of the sector.
He averred that government is aware of the challenges crippling the growth of the industry and is bent on removing these bottlenecks to ensure that the full benefit of cocoa is enjoyed by the state.
“The issue of how illegal miners are taking over cocoa farms and the impact it has on the cocoa sector,;the mechanisms required to ensure that the industry is sustainable and managed to ensure that we enjoy the full benefit of the industry are being implemented. I’m fully aware of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ghana Cocoa board working around the clock and introducing policies to ensure that the cocoa industry is sustainable.”Samuel Jinapor
He further posited that Ghana as a country has enjoyed enormous benefits from the sector and the government will ensure that it continues.
Samuel Jinapor also commended the organizers of the forum and stated that the forum will lead to quintessential resolutions and proposals on growing the sector.
“The contribution of the cocoa industry to the country is far reaching. It is important that this conference is being held because,;arising out of the contribution this industry makes to the socio-economic development of this country, are challenges.”Samuel Jinapor
COCOBOD on cocoa sector issues
Also speaking at the forum,;Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD,;called for a more holistic approach to tackling issues affecting the cocoa sector,;including deforestation and low income of cocoa farmers to ensure the sustainability of the cocoa sector.
He then noted that to address issues of child labor in the sector,;COCOBOD hired the workers who carried out its mass cocoa spraying exercise,;adding that majority of Ghanaian cocoa farmers were engaged in cocoa-Agri forestry system of farming which ensured continuous vegetation cover.
Deforestation and child labor, a concern
H.E Diana Acconcia, EU Ambassador to Ghana addressing the forum said the issue of child labor and deforestation in cocoa growing countries remain a major concern for the Europeans who were the world’s largest market for cocoa and housing the largest chocolate and confectionary manufacturers.
“Sustainability, economic, social and environmental issues have been high on the political agenda in Europe for many years now. But in the last few years these issues have acquired a new prominence.”Diana Acconcia
Ms Acconcia revealed that the launch of the European Green Deal, a new growth model that would bring Europe to be carbon neutral by 2050, had put sustainability at the centre of the EU’s policy making.
“It is in this context that the EU has started to work on legislation on deforestation and due diligence obligations for business that will cover a number of key commodities, cocoa included.”Diana Acconcia
The legislation when passed will prohibit products that contribute to the destruction of forests outside the EU from being placed on the EU market.
Ms Acconcia assured of the EU’s commitment to a continuous multi-stakeholder dialogues to ensure a long-term sustainability of the cocoa value chain in both producing and consuming countries.