The Agric Desk of the Centre for Socioeconomic Studies (CSS) learns with grave concern some negative developments in the cocoa sector for the 2018/2019 crop season. Cocoa is Ghana’s major cash crop and highest agriculture export earner.
CSS Agric Desk has, in recent weeks, received several complaints from cocoa farmers across cocoa growing regions of Ghana about unusual delays in payments for their produce. Farmers who sell their produce to the Produce Buying Company (PBC) and other local License Buying Companies (LBCs) are the most affected.
CSS Agric Desk, through its further investigations, understands that COCOBOD has either refused, neglected or failed as it is obliged to allocate the local LBCs portions of their annual syndicated loan for the 2018/2019 crop season. Local LBCs are being compelled to source for loans from banks at considerably higher interest rates to buy produce this season.
Again, in cases where the LBCs have taken loans, purchased and delivered cocoa beans to COCOBOD, COCOBOD has failed to pay these local LBCs. These developments explain the unusual delays in paying cocoa farmers this crop season.
CSS believes these developments are incentives for cocoa smuggling, which makes Ghana the net loser as it adversely impacts the revenue projections of Government and denies Ghana the long-term benefits of investments made in the cocoa sector.
As a matter of urgency, the CSS demands that
COCOBOD and Government:
1. Provide prompt and adequate explanation on these developments.
2. Take immediate steps to make available funds for prompt settlement of all financial obligations owed local LBCs and, in effect, cocoa farmers and banks to restore confidence in the cocoa sector.
Finally, the CSS brings these developments to the attention of Finance and Agric Committees of Parliament. CSS also cautions COCOBOD and Government to take these developments in the cocoa sector more seriously to avert negative socioeconomic implications on rural livelihoods and the hardworking cocoa farmers.
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