The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is seeking to increase coffee production by over 300 percent as it plans to upgrade the coffee desk into a full-scale division to supervise production and export of the commodity.

Currently, Ghana produces about 10,000 tonnes of coffee annually for the domestic market. Globally, the coffee industry is estimated to be worth US$100billion in value, with Africa earning just about 2 percent of the amount even though the continent is a leading producer and the original home of coffee.

“With the plan to set up the Coffee Division at COCOBOD, it is our hope to increase production from 10,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes in the medium-term and then 100,000 tonnes in the long-term,” Deputy Director in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation at COCOBOD, Michael Owusu-Manu, said at the African Coffee Scientific Conference held via Zoom.

He explained that the master-plan is to make coffee production as important as cocoa to enhance foreign earnings from the commodity, since the global demand for coffee keeps growing every year.

He stated that COCOBOD will engage major stakeholders to help process the coffee in Ghana before it is exported, to enable Ghana benefit from the US$100billion value chain. “Just like cocoa, coffee is worth billions of dollars and yet Africa only earns a small portion of that amount. Most of the coffee produced in Africa is processed outside the continent and brought back to us,” he said.

He maintained that the only way Ghana can benefit from the commodity is to participate in its processing before exporting. Giving more details on how the Coffee Division will enhance its production, Mr. Owusu-Manu said the shift from a coffee desk to a division will prioritise coffee production, motivating more farmers to enter into its cultivation.

“Coffee production can thrive almost in the same conditions as cocoa. This is why COCOBOD has been given the oversight responsibility on its production. It means that we can encourage our farmers to also earn more income from coffee in addition to cocoa.”

Delivering the keynote address, the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, pledged government’s support for coffee farmers to encourage more people to enter into the sector. He stressed that the plan to set up the Coffee Division under COCOBOD demonstrates government’s commitment to reviving coffee production after it was ignored and allowed to deteriorate under the previous government.

Dr. Afriyie Akoto noted that the favourable price of coffee should be a motivation to increase its production, particularly as there is constant demand for coffee in Europe and North America.

Source:thebftonline.com