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There was no money when we took over in 2017 – COCOBOD CEO

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has said his outfit had significant financial difficulties when he assumed office in January 2017.

Upon assuming office, Aidoo explained that there were no funds left to continue purchasing cocoa for the remainder of the season, which extends from January to September.

Speaking on Joy FM, on Wednesday, June 12, Mr Aidoo detailed the dire financial situation he inherited and the measures taken to stabilise the organisation.

“They [NDC] bought about 600,000 metric tonnes before we came in. With cocoa, the peak harvest period is October, November, December, and January. So within the first quarter of the season, from October to December 2016, the previous administration bought over 600,000 metric tonnes. When we assumed office, there was no money, meanwhile, we had to buy cocoa till the end of the season from January to September.

“We were forced to go to the Bank of Ghana to borrow. Within that period, we bought over 300,000 metric tonnes and we had to pay the farmers, we had to pay for haulage, the buyer’s margin, and operational costs.

“…We sought help from the Bank of Ghana who became an intermediary between the Board and the consolidated banks and we got over GH₵2 billion,” he explained.

Ghana’s cocoa industry is struggling due to adverse weather, bean disease, and illegal gold mining, which often displaces cocoa farms.

Additionally, Ghanaian farmers are smuggling beans to neighbouring countries for better prices, reducing the available crop for local delivery. Reports indicate that Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, may delay delivery of up to 350,000 tons of beans to next season due to poor crops.

This situation has led to a significant rise in cocoa prices globally, with chocolate makers increasing consumer prices after cocoa value more than doubled this year, following a third consecutive year of poor harvests in Ghana and Ivory Coast, which together account for 60% of global production.

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