12.10.07

President Kufuor asked COPAL to Speak against tariffs on Cocoa Products

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday tasked member countries of the Cocoa Producers Alliance (COPAL) to speak against the imposition of tariffs on cocoa products such as cocoa powder and cocoa butter that were exported to the European Countries. In an address read for him at the opening session of the 70th COPAL Council of Ministers meeting in Accra, President Kufuor said value addition was one of the surest ways of ensuring sustainability of the cocoa economy in member countries. He asked the countries to pay attention to harmonization of quality standards among them, payment of remunerative prices to farmers, processing and consumption of more cocoa locally and adherence to good agronomic practices. “If we prioritized these objectives in our respective national development agenda, I believe we would be heading towards fulfilling the dreams of the founding members of the Cocoa Producers’ Alliance and helping to reduce poverty among a large section of the cocoa growing communities in various countries,” he said. Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance, said government would take measures to eliminate any cases of the worst form of child labour on cocoa farms and also lend support to other stakeholders and partners to eliminate the practice. “We would ask for cooperation and understanding from all consuming countries as we take the necessary measures to tackle these challenges,” he said. Prof. Gyan-Baffour stressed the need to intensify efforts to bring other cocoa producing countries into the fold of COPAL. Currently, out of the 17 African Cocoa Producers only seven are members of COPAL. “It is the hope of Ghana that the secretariat would spare no effort in getting a number of these countries to be members of COPAL. Our alliance would thus become stronger.” Mr Charles Ugwuh, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, urged member countries to target China as a major target because of its enormous potential. “Indeed, it is worthwhile to consider appointing a Specialist or consultant to provide detailed advisory on this as we as other emerging markets.”GNA

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