Centre For Agro Liberty (CAL), a Ghanaian-based free market and public policy research organisation at the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI), has observed that certain moves by the government could make Ghana lose its position on the World Cocoa League.
Ernest Danso Abiam, Executive Director of CAL, in a press release, explained that farmers are not expanding their cocoa farms, instead, they are cutting them for other purposes.
He said more of the cocoa farmers are going into rubber plantations, because of unfair treatment the government is meting out to them.
CAL cited the selling of fertilisers to cocoa farmers which had the warning: ‘Not for sale’ printed on the sacks, as unfair treatment to the farmers.
It said it had received several complaints from cocoa farmers across the cocoa growing regions of Ghana of the unusual delays in payments for their produce by the Produce Buying Company (PBC) and other local Licenced Buying Companies (LBCs).
“We further observed that COCOBOD has refused, neglected or failed, as it is obligated, to allocate the local LBCs’ portions of their annual syndicated loan for the 2018/2019 crop season. Therefore, the Local LBCs are being compelled to solicit for loans from banks at considerably higher interest rates to buy produce for this season.
“Again, in cases where the LBCs have taken loans, purchased and delivered cocoa beans to COCOBOD, COCOBOD has failed to pay them. These developments explain the unusual delays in paying cocoa farmers this crop season, which signals a negative effect on cocoa production in the country,” Mr Abiam said in the statement.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Ghana’s cocoa production is expected to hit two million metric tonnes by 2019, but this, CAL predicted, may not be achieved, due to the decision most cocoa farmers had taken to cut their trees for rubber cultivation.