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June 03, 2007

Ghana's COCOBOD launches 60th anniversary celebration

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board, Isaac Osei, has stated that as the board celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, the main challenge it faces is to effectively implement appropriate policies which will improve the cocoa industry, leading to the attainment of its one million tonnes production target.

"This target will surely be attained through productivity-enhancing schemes, modernisation and expansion of logistics, and improvement in quality assurance systems," Osei told a gathering at the launch of the board's 60th anniversary celebration in Accra on June 2. He said he was proud that COCOBOD has become one of the most respected commodity institutions in Africa. "This has translated into our ability to lift the trade finance facility for cocoa purchases to another height, with annual amount involved increasing from $260 million in 2000/01 through $650 million in 2003/04 to $810 million in the current 2006/07 crop year," he said.

Osei said the board's attempt to secure a $150m medium-term facility for the modernisation and expansion of its quality assurance and warehousing facilities was over-subscribed by more than 33 percent, indicating the positive image of COCOBOD in international financial circles. He said in line with the government's policy to promote domestic processing of up to 50 percent of national cocoa output, COCOBOD would continue to support and promote the private sector to play an active role in that regard. "Both existing and prospective cocoa processing companies will continue to be encouraged to add more value to our beans beyond cocoa nips and liquor
to finished products."

A deputy minister of finance, George Gyan-Baffour, said COCOBOD has been a dependable partner in Ghana's development since its inception in 1947. "I recall production level reaching over 736,000 tonnes in 2003/04 and the 2005/06 crop year's record of over 740,000 tonnes. Correspondingly, over $1 billion mark was attained in 2003/04 in terms of foreign exchange."

The Statesman

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