Ghana risks losing top cocoa producer spot – Lecturer warns

Illegal mining has led to the destruction of cocoa farms

Ghana is likely to lose its spot as the top cocoa producer in Africa if the government does not show more commitment to improving the sector, that’s according to Dr. Francis Awotwe, the Dean of Students at the Bunso University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies.

He said the continued use of mercury soaked lands for cocoa cultivation may affect Ghana’s prestigious position on the world market.

An increase in illegal small-scale mining in mining communities has led to the destruction of cocoa farms with some cocoa farmers selling their lands to miners.

Majority of cocoa farmers in the country are also cutting down cocoa plantations for rubber and palm tree, which according to the farmers are more productive and lucrative.

Dr. Awotwe called on the government to develop policies to protect the over 60 million cocoa seedlings distributed to cocoa farmers.

“If Ghana is producing 60 million cocoa seedlings for distribution to farmers, the Government should be interested in protecting these seedlings so that they can mature to increase cocoa production annually. But that doesn’t seem to be what is happening. We know that cocoa farmers are complaining and cutting down their cocoa for rubber and other production, he noted.

Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) recently signed a new 3-year receivables-backed trade finance facility of US$300m.

The Facility will be used to refinance Cocoa Bills raised by Bank of Ghana on behalf of COCOBOD and or to finance production enhancement programmes.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has chastised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for maintaining the producer price of cocoa for farmers across the country.

The group has accused the government of failing cocoa farmers who contribute so much to the economy by choosing “an unrealistic exchange rate” for the farmers.

A claim, manager in charge of the Ghana Cocoa Board CEO’s office, Fiifi Boafo, has refuted.