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Restructure COCOBOD; allow farmers control their own sales – Nii Moi Thompson

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Economist Dr. Nii Moi Thompson has called for the restructuring of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and empowering cocoa farmers for greater autonomy and economic benefit.

In an interview on Channel One TV on Wednesday, June 19, Dr. Thompson proposed a significant shift. He suggested that COCOBOD step back from direct involvement in cocoa sales. Instead, he envisions farmers independently selling their beans, fostering self-reliance and potentially higher profits.

“It’s time to leave the cocoa farmers alone,” Dr. Thompson told Bernard Avle on Channel One TV’s The Point of View. He suggests farmers manage their sales like other businesses, generating income and contributing through taxes. This, he argues, would empower farmers and strengthen the national tax base.

Dr. Thompson emphasises the need for a more diversified Ghanaian economy, less reliant on cocoa. He proposes a strategic shift towards other sectors to achieve more balanced and sustainable growth.

“After 150 years, we should let cocoa go and think of non-cocoa, non-primary commodity sectors…I’m saying leave the cocoa farmers alone, like anybody else, if they need services let them pay for it. There’s so much potential for growing other parts of the economy, let them have their money,” he opined.

Dr. Thompson expressed disappointment that, despite a long history of cocoa production, Ghana hasn’t reached $10 billion in annual cocoa exports. He views this as a sign of missed opportunities and a call for change.

“The first one is the shame of a country like Ghana still depending on cocoa, as a core element of its development strategy after almost 150 years, since it was introduced. We shouldn’t be talking about cocoa, by now we should be talking about the industry, high-tech and so on and so forth.

“Cocoa now constitutes just 2% of GDP, and your national development strategy is based on a sector that makes up less than 2% of your GDP.”

He criticized Ghana’s overdependence on cocoa, highlighting the limitations of cocoa loans and the lack of significant economic progress.

“We should be aiming for $10 billion in exports through value-added products,” he argued.

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