Story: Simon Ahensah
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has suspended its free cocoa spraying exercise in Elubo, in the Western Region.
COCOBOD says the move has become necessary following reports of smuggling by cocoa farmers to neighbouring country, Ivory Coast.
Head of Public Relations at COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo said farmers will have to suffer for their own inactions.
“After all the cost involved, if cocoa is smuggled outside the country, how will COCOBOD be able to raise the money to pay for the services? It’s unfortunate that the farmers will have to suffer this fate at this time. But it’s to send a certain signal,” Fiifi Boafo said.
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is concerned that if the cartel that is in charge of cocoa smuggling in Ghana keeps up its current behaviour, the situation will get worse.
Fiifi Boafo maintained that the phenomenon poses a negative impact on the country’s cocoa production.
“If cocoa beans are smuggled across the border, then there will not be any revenue for COCOBOD, and it appears a sizeable amount of Cocoa will be lost to these smuggling activities”, he said in an interview with the media.
For many years, cocoa beans have been smuggled illegally between the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The smuggling of cocoa between Ghana and the Ivory Coast occurs often, with the direction of the trafficking varying according to the price differential between the two countries.
If not stopped in their tracks, smugglers will continue to contribute to Ghana’s crop shortfall.
Aside from that, factors including over-aged trees and climate change have led Ghana to experience a shortage of 300,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in the crop season for 2021–2022.
That is actually the lowest in 15 years.
His concern was expressed given that in just two weeks, the anti-smuggling task force, working with security organizations, has seized more than 1,500 bags of smuggled cocoa beans.
The smuggled beans originated from the Western North and Volta regions while arrests were made in the Greater Accra, Volta and Western North regions during the transit of the cocoa beans.