Cocoa is the most important export and represents 35-40% of the national earnings for the world’s largest producer. The crop employs approximately one million farmers, and more than six million people rely directly and indirectly on it for a living. Phytosanitary issues are seen as one of the most serious threats to the sustainability of cocoa production and of the national economy. Disease and insect problems compel producers to use many type of pesticides, but there is a general lack of knowledge and information about them. Experts agree that producers must be encouraged to use good agricultural practices in order to minimise the risk of pesticide residues, or other contaminants (OTA, PAH, etc.) in cocoa beans.
In order to minimise threats to cocoa exports on the international market, the Government has resolved to strengthen compliance with international SPS standards, and develop strategies for producing quality cocoa. To this end, a number of governmental and non governmental initiatives promote quality cocoa production. There is strong support for the project, as it fits in with these initiatives and supports the national policy for the production of quality cocoa for better access to the international market.
Supporting material available to download: