The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has called for restructuring of the Ghana Cocoa Board(COCOBOD) to make it efficient rather than just moving it from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Shortly after the president-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo hinted that the outgoing Member of Parliament for the Kwadaso constituency, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto will be the Agriculture Minister; discussions of a possible move of the COCOBOD to the Ministry of Agriculture became rife. But commenting on the issue, the General Secretary of GAWU, Mr. Edward Kareweh maintained that the poor performance of COCOBOD rather calls for a restructuring.
“On the dispensation that we find ourselves cocoa production has been declining all these years and that is not a good story. We have been hearing of farmers complaining here and there. We need to address that.
The need to restructure is much more important than just putting it under the Ministry of Agriculture,” he argued. Mr. Kareweh was of the view that the Ministry of Agriculture has its own challenges, hence can not automatically solve the problems of the COCOBOD.
“ The Ministry of Agriculture has its own challenges and I am not sure that it has been able to address all those challenges well, so why do we think that when COCOBOD is put under the Ministry of Agriculture farmers would benefit from that and when we talk of farmers which type of farmers,” he asked.
“For cocoa farmers to have the full benefit of their labour and their investment it does not matter whether the COCOBOD is under the Ministry of Agriculture or not, but we should also be careful that the bureaucracy and the type of attitude that bedevils the civil service is likely to affect COCOBOD if we take it to the Ministry of Agriculture,” he added.
Recounting some good performance in the past, Mr. Kareweh maintained that COCOBOD has delivered in the past going beyond its target, hence the feat can be reproduced.
“I think we need to restructure COCOBOD because it has delivered on its mandate in the past, but it appears that its current officials are not good enough to deliver,” he stressed.