Business News of 2014-01-15

COCOBOD denies reports of cocoa smuggling

Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has denied reports that depreciation in the value of the cedi has culminated in the smuggling of some 40,000 tonnes of cocoa beans into Ivory Coast.

A report by Reuters said smugglers have trafficked Ghanaian cocoa beans into top grower Ivory Coast since November to take advantage of a drop in Ghana's cedi currency.

Spokesperson for COCOBOD, Noah Amenyah, speaking to Accra-based Citi FM denied the report adding that Cocobod is not aware of any such activity.

Although the cocoa smuggling between the two countries is common, over the past decade it has mainly involved Ivorian beans being taken illegally to Ghana -- the world's second-largest producer -- where the government buys output at a fixed price.

However, Ivory Coast abandoned a decade of sector liberalisation last season and introduced a minimum price for farmers, a measure that has helped to reduce illicit exports.

Exporters said the Ivorian price is now seen as more attractive by Ghanaian farmers, who can make bigger profits selling their output to smugglers.

The volumes of beans being allegedly smuggled into Ivory Coast currently represent only a fraction of total output.

Source: B&FT
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