Stakeholders in the cocoa value chain production say even though Ghana is obeying a European Union (EU) condition placed on the country not to expand cocoa farms to forest regions, the practice is fast gaining grounds in other parts of the world such as China.

According to them, the development makes traditional cocoa growing areas such as Ghana and Ivory Coast face unfair competition.

Speaking to a delegation from the European Union on the issue, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo appealed to the EU to immediately check the practice to protect Ghana and Ivory Coast from unfair competition.

“We are encouraging our farmers not to cut any forest anymore just to ensure that we have enough forest to protect this planet. But whiles we forged some alignment with the EU to get a solution to this problem we are also aware that some industry actors are also moving into large scale cocoa plantation elsewhere cutting forest”.

Mr. Boahen Aidoo lamented that the development presents a situation the restricts Ghana and Ivory Coast from cutting into forests to expand cocoa farms but permits other countries outside the African continent to aggressively pursue cocoa plantation on large scale.

In addition, Mr. Boahen Aidoo, accused European companies that buy cocoa beans from Ghana and Ivory Coast of deliberately setting conditions that always keep the global prices of cocoa beans down.

According to him, cocoa farmers from the two countries have been made worse off due to unfair pricing regime dictated by European countries.

 “As we speak, there is a huge shortage of the commodity in both countries for supply; but still, prices are down. When there is surplus, prices are down; when there is deficit, prices remain low”.

“These occurrences are baffling and we must interrogate them. This also informs us that there are some kind of deliberate attempts and schemes to keep the prices down by global actors”, he said.

Mr. Boahen Aidoo stated that the most important part of the whole cocoa value chain – the cocoa farmer has been relegated to the back, worsening their living conditions.

“We have to look for a more thriving and sustainable industry to bring into focus the farmer who is at the centre-stage of production”, he said, adding that the entire industry risks collapsing if the cocoa farmers’ operations are not prioritised.

According to Mr. Boahen Aidoo, even though Ghana and Ivory Coast produce premium cocoa beans in the world, the high quality of the beans is not computed in the price build up.

He stated for example that an attempt to remove premium prices on cocoa is disappointing since it may cause farmers from the two countries to lower the quality of beans produced in the region.