Government has declared a war on cocoa smuggling to neighboring countries.
This follows a drop in the latest production output of about four hundred thousand metric tons which translates into almost 600 million dollars in loss to the state.
Documents available to JoyNews suggest the drop was a result of the smuggling of the beans to neighboring countries, especially Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Togo.
Subsequently, government adjusted the producer price in the hope of encouraging farmers and preventing smuggling.
Speaking during an interview, the Food and Agricultural Minister, Bryan Acheampong said steps have also been taken to deal with smugglers.
“From June to today that we opened a new cocoa season, we have not received a single cocoa bean from the eastern cocoa zones. COCOBOD has not received one bean meaning that all the money we are putting into cocoa production is being smuggled out.
"Our output has dropped from a peak of one million and thirty thousand metric tonnes to six hundred and fifty thousand metric tonnes. That is how low we have come and meanwhile the money that we have put into producing cocoa has shot up from 100 million to almost 400 million dollars.
"There is something really happening on the smuggling side. We have introduced much better pricing, a record breaking price and we hope that smuggling will cease and we can assure the merchants who are involved in the smuggling of cocoa that this year, we shall see,” he warned.
However, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is not convinced.
The Minority in Parliament argues that since 2017, COCOBOD has been making losses that threaten its very existence despite the rise in the world market price.
The MPs insist that cocoa prices have trended higher over the past year as global cocoa supplies have tightened.
Confirming this on JoyNews, Minority leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson said the CEO for COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo must resign.
He is accusing him of incompetence and mismanagement of the institution.
“We are seeing the production coming down or climbing to the lowest in the last fifteen years. So everything has gone bad at the Ghana COCOBOD. We have also seen them recording massive losses since 2017. Last year, according to their own audit report they declared a loss of 2.4 billion Ghana cedis in one year and the question is what is going on?
“Clearly, I don’t think that Boahen Aidoo deserves to be in office. He has mismanaged the cocoa sector massively. He has been reckless, shortchanged the cocoa farmer and in the end he has brought productivity down so I don’t see why he should be in office. He should rather resign instead of insulting Mr. Mahama. Our position is that the new price must be 2,500 Ghana cedis."
But the Agricultural Minister Bryan Acheampong is hopeful that COCOBOD's finances will stabilize from next year.
“Cocoa has not been neglected. COCOBOD is one of the most effectively run institutions in the world. They are having a revenue of almost 12 billion a year and spending about 2 billion in their operations. This makes it one of the most efficiently run organizations in the world.
"If you look at the COCOBOD turn-around strategy, this year, they are in the path to self reliance and financial recovery and by June of next year COCOBOD will have a clean bill,“ he stressed.
First-year SHS students to report to school today
We’ll win majority of orphan constituencies – Bawumia
Today’s front pages: Monday, December 4, 2023
T-bills auction: Interest rates return to upward trajectory; Government misses target by 30%
Canon Central and North Africa unveils remarkable Sales Growth Milestones at Inaugural ‘Executive Circle’ Conference
We’ve demonstrated we can bring progress and prosperity to Ghanaians – Akufo-Addo
Effs to embark on media, familiarisation tour
Health personnel urged to prioritize child abuse and neglect cases
NPP’s Claudia Kwarteng Lumor supports persons with disabilities in Oforikrom constituency
NDC stalwart equips Volta secretariat ahead of 2024 general elections
Private universities should also benefit from GETFund – GCUC President appeals
‘Poisoned for Gold!’ – ‘Scorched-earth’ policy?
Israel-Gaza war: Israeli forces pushing into south Gaza
Nearly 50 killed by Tanzania floods and landslides
Over 200 voluntary donors participate in Luv FM blood donation drive