The Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has refuted the notion that the cocoa industry was on the verge of collapse due to mismanagement and farmers were giving their cocoa farms to illegal mining due to low remuneration.
Such statement according to the management, was misleading and detrimental to a vital sector like cocoa, which forms the foundation of Ghana’s economy.
This was contained in a press release on Thursday after a publication on certain media platforms citing statements made by former President John Dramani Mahama alluding to a collapse of Ghana’s cocoa sector.
According to Management of Cocoa Board, it is widely acknowledged that Galamsey operations pose a significant danger to the nation, and any attempts to justify or rationalize the conversion of a piece of land, especially a cocoa farm, into a Galamsey site, like the Former President sought to do, must be met with contempt.
It said, “This menace has the potential to negate all the investments made by the government to modernize cocoa farming and improve productivity therefore, crucial that prominent figures in society exercise caution when making public statements that rationalize cocoa farmers trading their farms for temporary monetary benefit through illegal mining.”
Touching on the cocoa pricing, management said, there was no upward adjustment of the producer price of cocoa in the 2012/2013 Crop Season. Similarly, the producer price of the preceding season was maintained for the 2015/2016 Crop Season, with no upward adjustment.
“Indeed, within a three-year period of the Former President’s administration, the 2010/2011 to 2012/2013 crop season, there was a total of six (6) percent increase in the producer price. In contrast, within the last three years, there has been a 23 percent, 0 percent and a 21 percent increase in the producer price of cocoa,” it added.
According to the Cocoa Board Management, it was important to note that the producer price is largely determined by international market prices as well as other industry costs, and every effort was made to arrive at a producer price that was fair to farmers even when international market conditions was unfavorable.
The statement said, through a facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB), a total of 38515.54 hectares of otherwise diseased and unproductive cocoa farms have been fully rehabilitated so far, and some 59151.44 hectares have also been treated. It added that, “The process of restoring other diseased farms is ongoing across the country.”
Edem Agblevor, ISD