According to Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), between 100,000 and 200,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans have been illegally exported from Ghana to the neighboring nations since January of this year.
The smuggling of cocoa beans from Ghana to its neighbors, such as Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, was harming the Ghanaian economy, according to Mr. Aidoo, who voiced these worries to the media in Kumasi.
“We believe that there are some high-powered businessmen involved in the smuggling of cocoa beans…looking at the volume of cocoa beans being smuggled, it is not something that a cocoa farmer can do”…no farmer will be able to transport such volumes,” he noted.
According to him, some suspects were recently arrested while driving trucks filled with cocoa beans to Togo. He warned that those found guilty may spend as much as 10 years in prison.
In related news, Mr. Aidoo declared that the policy on fertilizer would be examined in order to lower fertilizer smuggling.
He indicated that the fertilizer subsidy would be eliminated under the new policy governmet, raising the price of cocoa for farmers to cover the cost of the input.
According to Mr. Aidoo, the new fertilizer policy would be implemented following extensive talks with all relevant parties, including farmers.
He recommended cocoa producers to rehabilitate the soil for a greater yield by using organic manure, such as poultry compost.
Mr. Aidoo urged reporters to aid in educating farmers about the use of organic manure.
In response to the government’s decision to start the cocoa season in September rather than October, he said that doing so would allow the COCOBOD to guarantee the quality of the cocoa beans and would also allow cocoa farmers to get payment before the start of the new school year.
“When schools are opened in October, it affects farmers as most of them would borrow money for upkeep of children and family,” he said.