LBCs asked to support fight against cocoa smuggling

Mr. John Henry Mantey Newman, Chief of Staff, has asked the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) to assist government efforts to stem the smuggling of cocoa across the country’s borders.

He said the smuggling of the beans undermined economic development as monies that should accrue to the state were lost through the illegal act.

It is estimated that between 60,000 tons of the beans might have

been smuggled out of the country in the 2009/10 season.

Mr. Newman was speaking at a symposium organised by the Produce Buying Company (PBC) to mark 10 years of listing on the Stock Exchange on the theme: “The Internal Marketing of Cocoa, Prospects and Challenges.”

The Chief of Staff underscored the importance of the crop for the survival of the country and called for special programmes to stimulate the contribution of farmers in the industry and also ensure that the farms were not depleted of labour.

Cocoa contributes between 7–9 per cent of the Gross Domestic
Product and 34 per cent of the Foreign Exchange Earnings.

Mr. Newman said in the face of oil discovery in the Western Region, which accounts for about a third of the country’s annual cocoa production, the Ghana Cocoa Board must take proactive steps to ensure that incentives were provided so that the youth would not leave the farms to seek opportunities in the oil industry.

Cocobod must therefore quicken the farmers housing policy scheme and other rewards that would sustain the farmers.

He said the internal marketing of cocoa had increased job opportunities, enhanced infrastructural development such as roads and electricity to towns and villages and allowed for the prompt evacuation of cocoa.

However, Mr. Newman said there were problems of poor quality due to improper fermentation of the beans, lack of funding for farmers and smuggling.

He urged PBC to redesign its strategy to capture a large percentage of the market share in the marketing of cocoa and build the necessary structure and human resource capacity to be able to participate in the global marketing of the crop in future.

Dr. Percival Kuranchie, Board Chairman of Cocobod, said despite the oil find, government was resolved to ensure that cocoa did not play second fiddle to oil.

He said but for smuggling, the huge investment by government in the annual production of the crop should have lifted it to the level of about 800,000 tons.

Dr. Kuranchie asked Ghanaians to take collective responsibility to end the canker of smuggling.

Source: GNA

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