By David BARTELS, Accra
Ghana and Ivory Coast have signed the Headquarters Agreement for the Cote d’Ivoire – Ghana Cocoa Initiative.
Dubbed the ‘Abidjan Declaration’, it is a framework set up to implement a Strategic Partnership Agreement to link both countries in maximising cocoa production.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo explained that the initiative would be the “mouthpiece of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in terms of cocoa matters.”
“Anything to do with cocoa for Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, this initiative is actually going to execute that agenda,” he added.
He said the headquarters agreement was signed in fulfillment of providing a permanent secretariat “to give effect to the physical presence of the initiative”.
He called the agreement “a privilege”, citing that the signing would give legitimacy to the existence of the headquarters in Accra.
Mr Aidoo said the accord would not just benefit COCOBOD, but would also create jobs at the secretariat and offer support to cocoa farmers.
Other cocoa-producing countries wish to join
The CEO said, “We have a number of producing countries knocking at the doors of the initiative.”
According to him, countries including Cameroon and Nigeria wish to be part of the enterprise, but said it was too early, and indicated that they may be invited as observers at the moment.
He explained that as part of the provisions for the initiative, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire must implement it for “not less than two years to ensure that the whole initiative has been consolidated, tried, and tested, then they can come in.”
We will secure a decent income for cocoa farmers
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, at the ceremony, said “we are very optimistic and we shall obtain the ultimate vision of securing a decent income for cocoa farmers in our respective countries.”
Dr Akoto said his ministry, together with the Ivorian government, through the initiative, is committed to staying focused on supporting cocoa farmers with improved incomes against all odds.