President John Mahama says his government has devised a new technology that will get fertilizers directly to cocoa farmers without the use of middle men.
This is to bring an end to what is popularly referred to as ‘goro boys’ syndrome or middle men in the fertilizer distribution sector of the cocoa economy.
The use of goro boys has led to the diversion of fertilizer to wrong people, most of whom either sell the fertilizers to farmers in neighbouring countries or to Ghanaian farmers at exorbitant prices.
Addressing a rally at Amenfi West constituency in the Western Region, President Mahama said with the new innovation, farmers will use their mobile phones to access fertilizer.
The innovation, referred to as e-wallet is to be implemented through the help of the COCOBOD and will begin next year, the president assured.
“There will be no middle men,” he reiterated adding, the technology will be piloted in two cocoa growing areas and will then be deployed in the remaining four areas if it is successful.
He said the cocoa sector is dear to the heart of the government because it is the major foreign exchange earner for the country.
Cocoa production increased from 395,000 metric tonnes in 2000 to 740,000 metric tonnes in 2005 with an increase producer price.
The share of cocoa in GDP rose from 4.9% in 2000-2004 to 8.1% in 2005/2006. It accounted for 22.6% of AgGDP (with forestry and fishery) or 28.5 % (without forestry and fishery).
In the 2014/2015 cocoa season the output is said to be not more than 700,000 tons, down from an initial target of more than 1 million tons that had already been revised down to 850,000 tons, a senior government source told Reuters.
With the e-wallet technology, the president hopes there will be improved yields in the cocoa sector in the coming years.
The President has also been calling on the people of the Western Region to rally round his government which he said has been one of the best performing governments since the transition to democratic government since 1992.
He said both president John Rawlings and his predecessor John Kufuor of the NPP were given eight-year tenure in office and believed the late president John Mills would have had an eight-year tenure if he was still alive.
He called on the residents to replicate same for him, adding his first four years was disrupted by the election petition in 2012 and needed another four-year mandate to continue the good work he has started.