The Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has urged the general public to dismiss former president John Mahama’s claims that the cocoa industry is collapsing.
According to the management, contrary to the former president’s claims, the industry saw the highest-ever cocoa production volume in the 2020/21 season, adding that cocoa producer price has seen a significant increase in the past three years.
In a press release dated April 27, COCOBOD stated that Mr Mahama’s comments are not only misleading but also detrimental to the cocoa industry.
We further wish to put on record and also assure the general public that the cocoa industry is not collapsing as being portrayed by the former President. Ghana recorded its highest-ever cocoa production volume of 1,045,500 metric tonnes in the 2020/21 Crop Season,” the management stated.
They added that “a cocoa industry which holds the position as the second highest producer in the world cannot also be said to have collapsed. COCOBOD continues to invest in interventions which will ensure not just the sustenance but the growth of the industry.”
The rebuttals come after former president John Mahama said the country’s cocoa sector is on the verge of collapse because of the mismanagement of the sector by the government.
Addressing party supporters and branch executives at the start of a two-day campaign tour of the Western North Region, he said the government’s failure to adjust the producer price of cocoa annually, and delayed payment of farmers for cocoa beans have combined with other factors to destroy the sector.
He also stated that “Under the previous NDC administration, we ensured that there was an upward adjustment in the producer price every year. But that is not the case with this government.”
John Mahama also referred to a farmer who said he will give out his land for ‘galamsey’ widely known as illegal mining because the returns are far better than farming.
“He doesn’t mind selling his farm for galamsey because there’s no profit from the cocoa business today. Payment of farmers for their cocoa purchases is no longer instant and there do not get any bonus. Farmers must now wait for three to four months to receive payment”, he added.
However, COCOBOD addressing Mr Mahama’s price adjustment claims stated that there was no upward price adjustment every year adding “within a three-year period of the Former President’s administration, i.e. the 2010/2011 to 2012/2013 crop season, there was a total of 6% increase in the producer price. In contrast, within the last three years, there has been a 23%, 0% and a 21% increase in the producer price of cocoa.”
On galamsey, the management admitted that illegal mining operations pose a significant danger to the country but Mr Mahama cannot rationalise the conversion of the land to the galamsey site as the reason for the industry’s collapse.
“This menace has the potential to negate all the investments made by the government to modernise cocoa farming and improve productivity. It is, therefore, crucial that prominent figures in our society exercise caution when making public statements that rationalize cocoa farmers trading their farms for temporary monetary benefit through illegal mining.”