At PAC sitting: Ghana loses 150,000 tonnes of cocoa .through smuggling - COCOBOD boss


At PAC sitting: Ghana loses 150,000 tonnes of cocoa .through smuggling - COCOBOD boss

Ghana lost 150,000 tonnes of cocoa beans due to activities of smuggling last year, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boa­hen Aidoo, has revealed.

To clamp down on the practice, he said, the Board had established a taskforce including personnel of the National Security to undertake regular operations to arrest the per­petrators and retrieve the product.

He noted that, one such opera­tion in 2023 in an unnamed com­munity in the Volta Region resulted in the death of two young persons.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament in Accra yesterday, Mr Aidoo said, producer price varia­tions which was significantly low in Ghana was the reason for the continuous smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring countries.

“Mr Chairman, the root of the smuggling challenge is the price differential between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. If we are able to address the price variations, then there will be no motivation for people to smuggle their cocoa to other countries,” he added.

Explaining what had account­ed for the price differentials, he stated that, Ghana was engaged in forward-sales of cocoa which allows the Board to sell off 60 to 65 per cent of cocoa produce as syndication at a significant lower fee before it was harvested.

He noted La Côte d’Ivoire, on the other hand, sells on the spot, which gives farmers the opportuni­ty to demand higher sales for their produce.

Already, Mr Aidoo said, Ghana had developed a new producer price which would be implemented in the new crop season to guaran­tee higher prices for cocoa beans.

He said, in addition to the smug­gling, Ghana’s dwindling cocoa production was due to the out­break of El Niño disease, not only in Ghana and activities of illegal mining in most cocoa growing areas of the country.

The situation, he noted, was not exclusive to Ghana saying that the country’s main competitor in cocoa production, Côte d’Ivoire lost about 600,000 tonnes of cocoa to the disease.

In this regard, COCOBOD, he stated, had set up a desk to deal with illegal mining by engaging farmers and other stakeholders and had cut down cocoa trees affected by the disease through the rehabili­tation project since 2020.

“Cocoa output for the 2020/2021 season was 1,047,000 tonnes. This was the highest we have recorded in recent years. However, smuggling, the out­break of El Niño disease, which compelled us to cut down cocoa trees as well as illegal mining have accounted for the drop in produc­tion.

We forecasted a drop to 750,000 tonnes for the 2022/2023 harvest, and that of the 2023/2024 is be­tween 650,000 and 700,000 tonnes due to the impact of illicit activi­ties,” he added.

However, Mr Aidoo noted that, the rehabilitation of cocoa and other policies implemented by CO­COBOD would see cocoa produc­tion skyrocket within the next four or five years.

Responding to queries about the recent approval to a company for the importation of cocoa beans, he stated that, the policy of cocoa importation by foreign companies had existed for a long time.

He said, it was to enable com­panies which manufacture cocoa products to have cocoa from different sources for blending to prepare their recipes.


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