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40,000 tonnes of Ghana's cocoa lost to smuggling since October 2009

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About 40,000 metric tonnes of cocoa have been lost through smuggling to neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire and Togo since the beginning of the Main Crop season in October last year, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) said on Monday.

“There may be a deficit because just as we did the forecast people are telling us that we might be close to 800,000 but because of smuggling. If we are able to seal some of these leakages we will be able to mop up whatever we get from the field,” he said.

COCOBOD’s Chief Executive Tony Fofie said in an interview that the upsurge in smuggling could dent the target of 700,000 metric tonnes projected for the 2009/10 cocoa season

“We are saddened by the upsurge in smuggling. Although the price differential is there, we believe there is more to this sort of smuggling,” he said.

Government has already increased the Producer Price of cocoa twice in effort to keep a tight rein on smuggling.

Mr. Fofie said apart from increasing producer price, security and patrols must be stepped up along the country’s western and eastern corridors to stem the menace.

Already, teams of security personnel have been dispatched to areas along the western and eastern borders.

He said management was also working on incentive packages to farmers and interventions such as pest and diseases control, spraying and enhanced subsidies on fertilizer to boost incomes.

Mr. Fofie said management would continue to seek the welfare of farmers and provide incentives to enhance increased production and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.

Currently, cocoa contributes about six per cent to the country’s GDP.

He announced that management was making efforts to ensure that the benefits that accrued from cocoa were equitably distributed throughout the country through focusing on cocoa farmers in the rural communities.

“COCOBOD has over the years, assisted in the establishment of educational institutions, training and development of the country’s human resources and would continue to do so, “he said.

Source: GNA

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