But for the prudence of the new management team of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Ghana would have lost a whopping $80 million due to “unusual” cocoa fertilizer contracts signed by the previous administration.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo made the disclosure when he received some cocoa farmers from the Asunafo South District of the Brong Ahafo Region in his office in Accra recently.
According to him, contracts for the supply of fertilizers were entered into arbitrarily at the detriment of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer.
“After some audit work, we invited some of the suppliers to re-negotiate the prices down because we realized they were too high,” he told farmers, who have expressed their satisfaction with government’s decision to maintain cocoa price this year despite the sharp fall in prices for the commodity on the world market.
Mr Aidoo stressed that the free fertilizer programme introduced in 2014 was bedeviled with reckless and exploitative procedures which led to diversion and smuggling of fertilizers to as far as Cameroon.
He said following concerns raised by farmers at various engagements, a decision was taken to revert to the subsidized fertilizer programme, which hinges on accessibility, fairness and transparency and called on farmers to support it.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Nana Isaac Appiah, 2014 Brong Ahafo Regional Chief Farmer, thanked government for painstakingly maintaining the cocoa producer price at GHC7,600.00 per tonne though the world price plummeted to as low as $1,900 per tonne.
Nana Appiah appealed to COCOBOD to consider rehabilitating some major roads linking cocoa communities to facilitate the carting of cocoa beans to buying centres.
He also called on COCOBOD to give special allocation of fertilizers and agro-chemicals to best farmers to help them maintain their yields.
He passionately called for the construction of a clinic in the Brong Ahafo Region, which is undoubtedly the leading producer of cocoa in the country.
The Asunafo South District Chief Executive (DCE), Osei Bonsu, who led the delegation to COCOBOD, pledged his outfit’s unflinching support in the implementation of all initiatives of the board.