The Second National Cocoa Stakeholders' Conference has ended in Accra with a call on stakeholders of the cocoa sector to implement cocoa certification projects to ensure simplicity and transparency in the cost of training information, setting up Internal Control System (ICS), premiums paid and appropriated.
The well-attended conference was initiated by Solidaridad West Africa and co-organised with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) with support from the Agro Eco-Louis Bolk Institute, Armajaro Ghana, Cargill Ghana, Africa Cocoa Coalition, and Rainforest Alliance.
It was attended by 120 participants drawn from farmer-based organisations, civil society organisations, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies, COCOOD, and donor partners.
The theme of the conference was 'Repositioning Ghana in the Global Sustainable Cocoa Economy'. Participants of the conference discussions focused on economic benefits of cocoa certification, cocoa rehabilitation and improving environmental governance to mitigate and adapt to effects of climate change on cocoa.
In a statement issued after the two-day conference, the Country Manager, Cocoa, Solidaridad West Africa and Conference Coordinator, Mr. Vicent Frimpong Manu said all the participants agreed that: "there is a clear evidence of the economic profitability of certification for the farmer, cocoa communities, COCOBOD and private cocoa companies".
According to him, both public and private sector partners should continue to invest in cocoa sustainability projects. This he said would lead to the scale up of sustainable cocoa production in the country.
Mr. Manu added that: "there are no short cuts to certification capacity development for farmers and organisations. Therefore all certification projects must as a necessity ensure that all farmers are trained and that farmers see the benefits of productivity gains from adoption of Good Agric Practices (GAP).
The participants also agreed on the increasing private and public sector efforts in promoting sustainable cocoa investment in downstream infrastructure including warehouses to facilitate quick secondary evacuation to promote good storage and quality cocoa.