Ghana’s cocoa farmers are complaining that they’re broke as the cocoa board – to which they are obliged by law to sell their produce – is unable to pay them.
The farmers say that the board – known as Cocobod – has not treated them fairly.
Anane Boateng, the president of the Ghana National Cocoa Farmers Association, complained that while his members do all the work and shoulder the costs, Cocobod seem unable to make a profit.
There are currently worries that some farmers might be forced to smuggle their remaining beans into neighbouring Ivory Coast in order to sell them.
Ghana is the world’s second largest producer of cocoa and the industry makes up around 15% of the country’s exports.
Cocobod has been losing money for the past six years, according to MP Eric Opoku – who is on the parliamentary committee that oversees the board.
Cocobod says that it is still trying to secure a loan to pay for the 2023/24 crop, the Reuters news agency reports. But parliament will still need to approve that and there has been a problem because Cocobod has failed to account for the money it borrowed in 2020, Mr Opoku said.
So far, the board has borrowed money from cocoa traders to pay for its purchases, Reuters reports.
Cocobod said in a statement that it wanted to “assure our stakeholders that the necessary arrangements have been made to secure enough funding for cocoa purchases for the year under review”.