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Ghana’s Cocoa Management Goes Digital

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Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia on Friday launched the Cocoa Management System (CMS) to create a comprehensive digital database for cocoa farmers for effective and efficient management of the cocoa industry.

The CMS is an online portal that will capture the demographics of cocoa farmers, farm sizes, input supplies, payment transactions and facilitate the roll out of the Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme.

Vice President Bawumia, speaking at the launch in Accra, said the System would be a game-changer for the cocoa industry, enhance transparency and help bring total transformation in the sector.

He entreated the Management of COCOBOD to build in-house capacity to manage the System to ensure its sustainability.

He called for collaboration between all stakeholders in the cocoa industry for effective implementation of the programme.

Dr Bawumia urged the media to undertake sensitisation drive to educate cocoa farmers and all players in the cocoa value chain for successful implementation.

He lauded the Management of COCOBOD for implementing various innovative initiatives over the past three and half years, saying that, the CMS was in tandem with the Government’s digitisation agenda to formalise the economy.

He said digitisation was revolutionalising the global economy, therefore it was imperative to leverage on information technology to enhance productivity and promote accountability and transparency.

The Vice President outlined various interventions rolled out by the Akufo-Addo-led government to improve the income and livelihoods of cocoa farmers in the country.

They include; hand pollination, pruning, and irrigation of cocoa farmers, supply of subsidised fertilizers and farm inputs, as well as the introduction of living income differential and increase in cocoa prices recently.

Dr Bawumia also mentioned digital infrastructure initiatives rolled out to generally formalise the Ghanaian economy including the digital property addressing system, national identification system and mobile money interoperability payment system.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the said the Management of COCOBOD over the past three and half years were implementing initiatives to address the myriad of challenges be-devilling the cocoa industry.

He mentioned some of the initiatives as early spraying, hand pollination, supply of slashes, pruning and irrigation of some cocoa farms to ensure all-year round water.

He was of the conviction that, the CMS if fully implemented, would create a central database for cocoa farmers, create inter and intra connectivity generation of cocoa industry players and transform the industry for the better.

A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, George Oduro, said the government had adopted mechanisation programmes to accelerate economic growth and make cocoa farming attractive to the Ghanaian youth.

He said government had supplied 100,000 motorized slashes to cocoa farmers, embarked on irrigation in some cocoa farmers and continued the fertilizer subsidisation programme to improve cocoa production.

The Deputy Minister was of the belief that the CMS would help eliminate fraud, theft and myriad of challenges facing the cocoa industry.

Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, President of Cocoa, Coffee and Cashew Farmers Association, on behalf of the association, thanked the Government for introducing major innovative initiatives to better the lots of cocoa farmers, which had also reduced the drudgery of farming and made it attractive for the Ghanaian youth.

 

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Tree Crop To Fetch $14bn Annually – President

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The Tree Crop industry will fetch the nation $14 billion annually, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced on Friday.

He explained that the Government was investing hugely in tree crops and very soon the nation would generate two billion dollars each from the export of cashew, coffee, shea-nuts, mango, coconut, rubber and oil palm annually.

President Akufo-Addo said this when he addressed the 36th National Farmers Day at Techiman in the Bono East Region.

It was on the theme: “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges”.

It was held at the Techiman Methodist Park and attended by Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, agro processing companies, farmers as well as local and foreign investors.

President Akufo-Addo noted that the performance of the agriculture sector was extremely poor and below the African Union target for member states since he assumed office in 2017.

His government, therefore, took bold decisions to improve on the sector, enhance national food security, diversify agriculture export earnings, and create jobs for the youth.

That decision, the President said, gave birth to the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), which had since 2018, invested hugely in seeds and fertilizer subsidies for farmers.

President Akufo-Addo said the successful implementation of the PFJ had made the nation a net exporter of food, with 50 per cent of local rice production meeting domestic demand.

He said the nation had finalised concessional agreement with India and Czech Republic for the importation of tractors and agro processing machines and inputs to be sold to famers at subsidised prices.

Government has also built 81,000 capacity warehouses nationwide to address post-harvest losses and enhance marketing of agriculture produce.

President Akufo-Addo said his government had further engaged about 2,700 agriculture extension officers and was determined to attain the United Nations standard of one extension officer to 500 farmers in his next government.

Government would also invest in the greenhouse sector, which had the potential of boosting the nation’s foreign income earnings in coming years.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, said government spent GHC600 million in PFJs this year.

The amount was invested in fertilizer and seeds subsidies for the more than 1.5 million beneficiary farmers on the programme, he said.

Dr Akoto said no government had invested hugely in the agriculture sector than the Akufo-Addo-led government, hence the need for farmers to vote to retain the New Patriotic Party in power in Election 2020.

Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, acknowledged the commitment of the Government to transforming the sector and assured of the Ministry’s continuation to collaborate with partners to make agriculture contribute significantly to national growth.

A 55-year-old farmer from the Jomoro District of the Western Region, Solomon Kwadwo Kusi, was adjudged the 2020 National Best Farmer and he received a prize money of GHC570,000.

Nana Kofi Drobo IV, a farmer at Wenchi, and Mahamudu Mohammed Awal, a farmer from the Northern Region, were the first and second runners up, respectively.

Nana Drobo received a tractor and some farm inputs while Mr Awal had a Nissan Pickup vehicle in addition to farm inputs.

Source:GNA

 

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HIPC Is Behind Us – Finance Minister

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The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has indicated that there is no going back to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as far as the Government of Ghana is concerned.

He made this known on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, as he presented the 2021 expenditure in advance of appropriation.

According to him, “HIPC is behind us. Economic mismanagement is behind us.”

He recounted that “in 2001, Ghana had no choice but to swallow her pride and to sign up to the HIPC initiative, a legacy left by the outgoing NDC government.”

“Thankfully, President J.A. Kufuor got us to completion point in record time and came out of HIPC. By 2014, barely 2 years in office, President Mahama’s ‘homegrown’ economic policy had failed and Ghana signed up once again onto an IMF programme.”

“The Akufo-Addo Govt took Ghana out of the IMF Programme in record time. Ironically, those who mismanage the economy for us to come and fix it are the one’s wishing Ghana ill. My message to them is this; there is no turning back.”

He stated that the economy is stronger today than it was four years ago, and will continue to grow stronger and stronger with four more years to do more for the people of Ghana, with God’s help.

He urged that “we must be careful as a nation to reject those who return from the Promised Land, with a bad report to subvert the spirit of our people and to reject leaders who would take us back to Egypt.”

“In our quest to stabilize the economy, we have also lowered the rate of debt accumulation, re-profiled our debt, and, implemented a number of structural reforms in a transparent manner for an efficient and effective management of public debt.

11.Mr. Speaker, these significant macro-fiscal gains were achieved in spite of having:

i. paid GH¢12 billion in excess energy capacity charges which we inherited in 2017, and have kept the lights on;

ii. settled substantial part of the GH¢11 billion

outstanding arrears bequeathed to us;

iii. abolished 17 unproductive taxes to boost productivity of the private sector;

iv. spent GH¢ 21.6 billion to clean-up a collapsing financial sector and protected 4.6 million depositors and 81,700 investors.”

“That is the competent governance, hard work and God’s hand that has delivered us.”

“for fair-minded observers, the above economic indicators are clear evidence of the sharp and stark difference between a competent Akufo-Addo-led Government and others.”

“these gains have not been at the expense of our promise to improve the welfare of fellow Ghanaians. In fact, the issue of welfare is very dear to President Akufo-Addo and his government. For this reason, we invested in excess of GH¢15.7 billion on key flagship programmes.”

The NDC had claimed that President Akufo-Addo has returned Ghana to HIPC.

However, the IMF says NDC’s claim was “deceptive.”

 

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Ghana Government to buy Airtel-Tigo for $25Million

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Discussions for the transfer of AirtelTigo shares to the government of Ghana along with all customers, assets and agreed liabilities are in its advanced stages.

The transaction will be concluded by the execution of definitive agreements shortly.

The government of Ghana through this transaction, will temporarily operate the national asset in the best interest of the nation, and ensure the protection of the interests of all employees, customers and stakeholders, and a continuation of the digital transformation in Ghana, a statement issued on the move has said.

Given the multiplier impact the telecommunications sector has on the economy and various related industries, the Government of Ghana has entered into this agreement to ensure that thousands of Ghanaian jobs are safe guarded, the statement added.

It is of critical importance that the telecommunications sector remains healthy, dynamic, vibrant, and most importantly, competitive, the statement added.

The board of Bharti Airtel in a statement issued to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Tuesday evening [October 27, 2020] announced that the board has cleared the sale of its Ghana joint venture – Airtel Tigo – to the Ghana government.

It is taking an impairment charge of about $25million for the transaction.

“The parties are in advance stages of discussions for conclusion of the commercial agreement for the transfer of AirtelTigo on a going concern basis to the government of Ghana,” Airtel said in the statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange in India.

The proposed deal would result in the government of Ghana acquiring 100% shares of Airtel Ghana Limited, also known as AirtelTigo, along with all its customers, assets and agreed liabilities.

“Accordingly, Airtel is voluntarily taking an impairment charge of Rs 1,841 million (Rs 184 crore),” the statement added.

AirtelTigo is a joint venture between ‘Airtel’ and ‘Millicom’ wherein Airtel holds a non-controlling 49.95% share in AirtelTigo.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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