The 6th annual Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Lecture organised under the theme, “Cocoa, a victim of the galamsey menace: Threat to Ghana’s global cocoa leadership” was held at the R.S. Amegashie Hall of the University of Ghana Business School, on the 31st of August, 2017.
Speaking on behalf of Professor Joshua Yindenaba Abor, Dean of the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Richard Boateng, the Head of Department, Operations and Management Information Systems (OMIS) mentioned that the event is important, especially in promoting the growth of the cocoa industry and the heritage of Tetteh Quarshie. He also mentioned that the theme is important, considering the recent spread of galamsey in most cocoa growing areas.
Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost, College of Humanities, University of Ghana and co-chairperson of the lecture stated that the lecture must be opened to a larger audience outside of academics to make its impact more felt. He expressed gratitude to the legend Tetteh Quarshie for his achievement of bringing cocoa to Ghana.
The Keynote speaker of the lecture, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, C.E.O, Ghana Cocoa Board, mentioned that the lecture is significant because of the contribution of the cocoa sector to Ghana’s economy. “Cocoa is the backbone of Ghana’s economy, contributing throughout the pre-independence era till now. On the average, cocoa provides 20-25 percent of the total merchandise export earnings for the country”. He mentioned that COCOBOD has received approval from its Board of Directors to commit GHC2 million to start the rehabilitation of the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Museum at Mampong-Akuapem.
Touching on the galamsey menace, Hon. Aidoo pointed out joblessness, the geographical phenomenon and the disincentive element of cocoa production as some of the factors for its rise. In addressing the galamsey menace, COCOBOD has put in place measures to improve soil fertility management, pests and diseases control, artificial pollination of farms, payment of remunerative producer price, quality of planting materials, the adoption of irrigation on farms, replanting of over-aged cocoa farms and mechanisation of cocoa farming.
In spite of the 20 percent Ghana contributes to world cocoa production, its share in this multi-billion-dollar value chain is just about 1 percent, which he lamented is woefully inadequate. “Clearly, Ghana cannot continue to wallow in this unfortunate situation of being just a producer of primary commodity. We need to add value and it is the avowed aim of Government to work towards the processing of not less than 50 percent of the cocoa beans locally”.
He asked all involved in the galamsey act to desist from it and put the interests of the nation above self-interest. He called on all stakeholders to work closely with COCOBOD, to pool knowledge, competences and other resources together towards a common goal of making cocoa farming in Ghana a remunerative venture. He concluded by saying, “Do remember to take your natural cocoa every day and buy chocolate for a loved one.”
Dr. Kwasi Dartey-Baah, Chairman of the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Lecture Committee, read the progress report and recounted some of the successes of the memorial lectures. He outlined the objectives of the Memorial Lectures as a means to educate the public on the life of Tetteh Quarshie and the role of cocoa in Ghana’s development agenda. He added that the lecture is also intended to uplift the image of the Mampong-Akuapem Traditional Council and the Family of Tetteh Quarshie, and create awareness of the various activities in the cocoa industry in Ghana. Dr. Dartey-Baah also mentioned that in a collaboration with COCOBOD, plans have been made to solicit funding to support innovative research works that potentially add to the cocoa industry. This arrangement, together with its modalities will be launched at next year’s memorial lecture. He encouraged all present to take a strong stand in the fight against galamsey.
Osabarima Kwame Otu Darte III, Chief of Mampong-Akuapem Traditional Area and chairperson of the event, expressed his appreciation to the organisers of the lecture and he reiterated the importance of the lecture especially in the fight against the galamsey menace. He also called on government to set up the One Factory project in the Mampong Area to utilise its Cocoa farms and provide jobs. He said his doors are opened to all interested in Cocoa production who will not hesitate to seek any information from him.
The family of Tetteh Quarshie called on stakeholders to put in more resources into the cocoa industry and rehabilitate the Tetteh Quarshie hospital and Memorial Park. This, they believe will celebrate his legacy.
The lecture was attended by a cross section of the University of Ghana community which included students, staff, faculty and other stakeholders of the Cocoa industry including government officials.
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