The former President of Ghana, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor, and the Director of ISSER, Prof Felix Ankomah Asante, have given thumps-up to the authors of an insightful book on cocoa titled, The Cocoa Coast: The Board-Managed Cocoa Sector in Ghana.
The book was authored by Dr Shashi Kolavalli, a senior research fellow, Development Strategy and Governance Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Accra, and Dr. Marcella Vigneri, an independent researcher based in Oxford, United Kingdom.
In remarks prior to launching the book, former President Kufuor expressed his unhappiness about governments determining prices for cocoa farmers and described it as an unfair practice. On this very issue, the authors had observed that after almost 20 years of declining cocoa production, Ghana has been able, in the last decade, to increase the share of export prices going to producers and has more than doubled production, a feat achieved through reforms without liberalization of domestic and export marketing.
Speaking to the book, ex-President Kufuor observed the obvious omission of a historical perspective on cocoa production in Ghana, which has been the mainstay of Ghana’s economy since the 1940s. He, however, extolled the authors for their good work and recommended the book to the government, Cocoa Board, and all stakeholders.
The Chairperson of the occasion, Prof. Felix A. Asante, expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of the Chief Executive of Cocoa Board and his team, although they were invited. In his view such an occasion afforded the Cocoa Board a great opportunity to have explained issues raised in the book or questions brought up by participants at the book launch.
Prof Asante shared the concerns of the former President about the exclusion of cocoa farmers in deciding cocoa prices for farmers and called for a rethink of that approach. He also urged the authorities at the helm of affairs at Cocoa Board to use a business model for running the affairs of cocoa by creating an environment for private-sector participation in the cocoa industry.