Cocoa board plans to improve production


THE Cocoa Board and industry participants must reactivate the industry by focusing on improve production through partnerships, chief executive officer Boto Gaupu says.
He said the country recorded a drop in volume to 33,000 tonnes during the cocoa pod borer strike period between 2006 and 2012.
It is now regaining production at the 40,000 tonnes per annum mark.
Gaupu said they planned to further increase volume between five to 10 per cent from this year.
Cocoa employs 2.5 million smallholder farmers, generating some K350 million in export earnings annually.
He said current partnerships with district development authorities, under which cooperatives societies, cluster groups and even partnerships under the World Bank’s PPAP arrangements, were excellent working models that must be supported.
Gaupu said these groups must be used as a medium for controlling quality, processing and marketing which in turn must use incentive programmes.
“Even research and extension must shift away from its current nature of random chances, to more of a group partnership with a greater emphasis on growing the people involved in the partnerships,” he said.
“The Cocoa Board stands to see that the industry moves in a direction where farmers have a stake in the industry, and not just mere producers.”
Gaupu said world demand for cocoa was predicted to grow with Europe, United States and Asia being the biggest market players.

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