December 2016


Incoming Ghana government gives cocoa sector chance of fresh start

Ghana’s incoming government could give the country’s $2 billion cocoa industry a boost if it installs a more transparent executive at industry regulator Cocobod and implements reforms, industry sources said.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) said its priority is to push annual cocoa output in the world’s second-biggest producer above 1 million tonnes when it takes power in January under President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo using a series of fresh measures.

A big issue is the role of Cocobod chief executive. Industry officials said CEO Stephen Opuni’s position is vulnerable because he publicly supported President John Mahama who lost the Dec. 7 election.

Traders and buyers credit the regulator for maintaining the premium quality of Ghana’s cocoa and increasing the guaranteed minimum price paid to farmers to 70 percent of net free-on-board but they say greater access to Cocobod is crucial.

“For the last two years, it has been very closed and very difficult to meet with Cocobod,” one senior Ghana cocoa operative said in a comment echoed by several others.

Cocobod plays a unique role both regulating the sector and exporting beans through its Cocoa Marketing Company as well as distributing fertilizer, pesticides and seedlings.

Few were willing to speak openly for fear of antagonizing Cocobod and some said that in itself reduced accountability. Buyers said they were unwilling to challenge the regulator for fear of damaging business relationships.

“Nobody dares to stand up to Cocobod,” said one buyer, who declined to be named.

Cocobod CEO Opuni did not respond to requests for comment.

FILE PHOTO: Cocoa beans are pictured in Ghana’s eastern cocoa town of Akim Akooko September 6, 2012. REUTERS/Kwasi Kpodo/File Photo

Ghana accounts for up to 25 percent of global cocoa supply and the industry also contributes around 7 percent of GDP as well as up to one quarter of the country’s export earnings.

The NPP has established a transition team but is yet to name a finance minister, one of whose statutory roles is to oversee Cocobod.

Its manifesto outlines policies including re-activating mass spraying, replanting farms with high yield trees, improving local processing and compensating farmers for diseased trees.

The party will “ensure that farmers receive increased producer prices plus bonuses high enough to encourage them to produce more cocoa for export (and) ensure that the value that farmers receive for their produce is not diluted by depreciation of the cedi against the dollar”.

FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY

Industry sources calculate Cocobod controls around half a billion dollars in funds per year, and must therefore increase its financial transparency and move towards depoliticising its dealings with farmers.

Several farmers said supporters of the outgoing National Democratic Party government gained better access to seedlings and inputs in the run-up to the vote than supporters of the opposition. Cocobod denied this.

At the same time, the regulator’s promise of free fertilizers, pesticides, spraying and seedlings had discouraged private sector participation and made farmers unhealthily dependent on free products rather than buying on the market.

“It’s not an effective system. It’s expensive and in the end not all farmers have access to these kinds of products. Because of the free elements the farmer has no opportunity to buy if he would have wanted to,” one senior market source said.

Others said it would be better if Cocobod’s role was reconfigured to focus solely on regulation, opening space for the private sector.

Ghana’s cocoa production peaked in the 2010/11 season at more than 1 million tonnes, dipped to under 750,000 tonnes in 2014/15 season before rebounding slightly last season.

One senior cocoa analyst said current production was running around 10,000 tonnes higher than the same point in the previous season. It would fall back in January and February but the mid-crop was expected to be strong, the analyst said.

However, the country needs to improve productivity per hectare. A step towards this is to map the size of each farm and count the number of farmers to get a more precise figure than the 800,000 that is often mentioned.

“We are looking forward to seeing all the things they (the NPP) have been promising,” Nana Johnson Mensah, a chief farmer of Western region south, told Reuters.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ghana-cocoa-idUSKBN1481Q5

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_Ghana)

GHANA ELECTION 2016 STATEMENT

As millions of Ghanaian’s  up and down the country go to the polls today we encourage all eligible voters particularly the YOUTH to exercise their right to vote.

Your vote is your voice and this is an election that really matters. Ghana turns 60 next year but significant challenges for the country remain. First and foremost THE ECONOMY; a decline in commodity prices has hit our economy, the Cedi has struggled against other currencies, the power crisis has affected Businesses and unemployment particularly youth unemployment remains high.
We would encourage all voters to vote for the party they feel is best placed to find solutions to ALL the challenges and overcome them for the good of the country.
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We are NON-PARTISAN organisation we do NOT support or favour any political party, we envision a self sustaining Ghana first and foremost. Thus through our Charitable Youth initiative The Future of Ghana we stand ready to bring the YOUTH AGENDA to government of the day whoever that may be.
We have faith in the Ghanaian electorate to act with integrity during this election. Ghana today the world is watching, your brothers and sisters in the Diaspora are watching with keen interest. Let us be an example and show the world what a peaceful and democratic nation we are whatever the result.
Here’s to a PEACEFUL, TRANSPARENT and FAIR election. God Bless our Homeland Ghana.

VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN GHANA TO BENEFIT FROM WAITROSE CHRISTMAS PROJECT

Food for All Ghana programme in partnership with MaxMart Family shopping centre and Kwatson’s West Africa, the sole distributors of Waitrose brand of products in Ghana will from 10th December till 10 January 2017  raise funds to support children out of school due to lack of regular means of nutrition.

The 2016 Maxmart Buy More, Feed More Christmas project, in association with Waitrose is aimed at creating sustainable means of nutrition for vulnerable children and raising awareness on the economic and social impact of child under nutrition in Ghana.

The 2016 cost of hunger in Africa report  by the National Development Planning Commission estimates Ghana loses GH¢ 4.6 billion which is equivalent to 6.4% GDP annually to hunger among children and 24% of all child mortality cases in are associated with under nutrition.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s  forum to launch the  project, Founder of Food for All Africa programme,

Food For All Ghana feeding the needy

Food For All Ghana feeding the needy

Chef Elijah Amoo Addo revealed  3 out of 5 children on the streets of Accra are out of school due to lack of regular means of nutrition at a time when over 45% of food goes to waste along Ghana’s food supply chain. For Ghana to overcome child under nutrition, all stakeholders must be responsible to ensure the right to food and education of children is championed. He praised MaxMart Family Shopping centre for contributing towards creating efficiency and reducing child under nutrition in Ghana.

Marketing manager of MaxMart Family Shopping centre, Mrs. Layal Majdoub explained  that for any Waitrose brand product that MaxMart customers and the general public buy this Christmas, 3% of the  price will be donated to  the Food for All Africa sustainable farms fund which will be used to  provide a  poultry project for  a beneficiary orphanage home by March 2017.

Waitrose are active supporters of the Global “Love Food, Hate waste” campaign and therefore delighted to work with customers and Ghanaians at large to reduce food waste and  hunger in Ghana.