The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in its attempt to collate and leverage data on cocoa famers across the country for the purposes of transparency and effectiveness, has launched the Cocoa Management System (CMS).
The system, which will become operational in the next 12 months, is expected to cost government about $ 10.7 million dollars.
The new Cocoa Management System, which has already been piloted in selected cocoa-growing communities, will see COCOBOD carry out a comprehensive data gathering exercise which will generate and centralize data such as the actual number of cocoa farmers and families in Ghana, the size, as well as the characteristics and output of their cocoa lands, all in an attempt to digitize, improve transparency in the cocoa sector as well make all payments in the cocoa sector cashless.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the CEO of COCOBOD, shed more light on what the CMS seeks to do.
“Essentially, it is to capture information (biometrically) about the farmer, the household, the land holdings and even the characteristic of the soil on identified farms. Other types of information we want to capture which we currently don’t have include weather systems, land tenure arrangements in which cocoa farmers are operating as well as information on our license buying companies (LBCs).”
“We know some stakeholders have pieces of information, but these are few and scattered. There’s a need for us to bring all of them into a central portal so that we can have inter-connectivity within the value chain, the supply chain, and to assist in the effective management, planning and implementation of policies and programs,” he added.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, stated that the new initiative by COCOBOD will ensure that projects to be undertaken in cocoa growing areas are based on verifiable data.
“For the first time every program, policy intervention plan and projection, every infrastructural development needed in cocoa growing areas will be based on verifiable data. So the CMS is not only in line with the government’s digital transformation agenda, but will also bring enormous benefits to stakeholders of the cocoa industry especially the farmers. The new system will also help with the effective running of the Cocoa Farmers’ pension scheme.”
Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, the National President of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (COCOSHE), expressed confidence in the Cocoa Management System, saying he believes it supports the development of a sustainable supply chain in the cocoa sector.
COCOBOD targets 1.5 million tonne rise in cocoa production within five years
Management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says the successful implementation of earmarked programs under the $600 million AfDB credit facility, should increase the country’s annual cocoa production from about 900,000 metric tonnes to 1.5 million within the next five to seven years.
The agreement for the facility which was signed in November 2019, is expected to see government invest in the rehabilitation of diseased and moribund farms, the introduction of a farmer database operating system known as the Cocoa Management System, irrigation and hand pollination.
The rest are warehouse capacity building, promotion of consumption, as well as the aggressive promotion of domestic processing.