Ghana and the European Commission on Friday signed two financing agreements totalling eight million Euros (9.6 million Ghana Cedis) to support programmes in the Cocoa sector and the Ghana Police Service.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Mr Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Head of the European Commission in Ghana signed the agreements.

Under the deal, an amount of five million Euros will be used to execute programmes to improve the livelihood of smallholder cocoa farmers and to ensure sustainability of cocoa production in the country.

Ghana Cocoa Board will implement the first component aimed at improving farmer’s access to high quality hybrid planting material while the second and third components would be implemented by the sustainable Tree Crops Programme, a consortium bringing together chocolate industry, producers, researchers, government agencies
and conservation people.

It will involve intensified extension services to cocoa farmers through participatory training, methods and tools, address the environmental and social impacts of cocoa production and support the replanting of hybrid cocoa varieties in former cocoa growing areas.

The remaining three million euros will be used to enhance the capacity of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service to enable it to deal effectively with crime.

As part of the programme, the Forensic Science Department of the CID will be rehabilitated and equipped with state of the art equipment, including an Automated Fingerprint Identification System to enable it undertake various types of analysis.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said government had made significant investment to improve the capacity and operations of the security apparatus, especially to maintain peace and security.

He said the Police Service would recruit and train more Ghanaians as police officers to improve the police-citizen ratio.

On Cocoa, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the project would address the environmental and social impacts of cocoa production, strengthen the management capacities of existing and emerging cocoa farmers and community-based organisations.

Mr Sebregondi said the support in the cocoa sector would help reduce income vulnerability and thereby improve livelihoods in line with Ghana’s will to improve competitiveness, foster growth and become middle-income country.

He said the support to the Police would help Ghana deal effectively with the fight against drug trafficking, illegal trade and immigration.

Source: GNA


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