The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says it will continue to put in place measures to boost the production level of Cocoa even though there’s a risk of contributing to the oversupply of the commodity on the world market.
According to the CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, other countries like Ecuador, Ivory Coast and Nigeria will continue to increase their production levels, hence the need for Ghana to do same in order not to be left behind.
COCOBOD set for itself a target of producing 850,000 metric tons of cocoa in the 2017/2018 crop season which ended in September.
The company has meanwhile secured a $1.3 billion dollar syndicated loan facility for cocoa purchases and related activities for the 2018/19 Cocoa Season, against a production target of 900,000 metric tonnes of cocoa the 2019 season.
This increase in target for next year is in line with COCOBOD’s plan of aggressively pursuing productivity enhancement programmes to help Ghana reach the one million metric tonne mark in the next few years.
The International Cocoa Organization however has drawn the attention of stakeholders to the crisis of overproduction of cocoa on the world market which could see farmers in countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast left with huge cocoa stocks.
However, during an interaction with some National Best Cocoa Farmers who paid a courtesy call on the CEO of COCOBOD Joseph Aidoo, he said Ghana must focus on improving farmer productivity to give farmers the option of selling more bags.
“Ivory Coast was once upon a time producing 1.5 million metric tonnes. In 2016/2017 they produced 1.8 metric tons. In 2018 they’ve gone to 2 million, and now they are aiming at 2.2 million.
Nigeria, Ecuador and the other production countries are all increasing their production. So Ghana cannot say that we won’t increase production because the world price is falling. We are all flooding the market, and that is a fact Ghana cannot run away from.”
For the National Best Cocoa Farmer for 2018 Charles Gyamfi, farmers across the country welcome all attempts to help them improve their productivity levels.
Mr. Gyamfi however added that efforts such as the construction of proper roads to cocoa farms, as well as the improvement in the national pruning exercise and irrigation programs, the procurement of electronic scales in 2019 to check the negative phenomena of scale adjustment by Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies, will help secure the livelihood of cocoa farmers across the country.
“All my cocoa farmer colleagues are complaining about how the scales have been illegally adjusted. So if the government can come in and help us by giving us electronic scales it will go a long way. The situation is not a good one, because if you go to some stations, cocoa farmers are cheated out of about 9 kilos of cocoa beans because of the manipulated scales.”
Mr. Boahen in a response mentioned that in 2019 all LBC’s that cheat cocoa farmers will be made to pay back the amounts to the affected farmers.