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HomeNewsIt’s shameful we can’t mobilise resources locally to purchase cocoa – Agric...

It’s shameful we can’t mobilise resources locally to purchase cocoa – Agric Economist

An Agric Economist, Prof. Robert Aidoo has criticised Ghana’s forward sales strategy of cocoa amidst record high prices on the international market.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express monitored by Purer, the Agric Economist voiced concerns over Ghana’s missed opportunity to capitalize on record-high cocoa prices, which have surged to an unprecedented $10,000 per tonne on the international market.

He further likened it to a scenario where the country is paid for the commodity upfront, only to miss out on potential profit increases when market prices surge post-harvest

This approach, he argued, limits Ghana’s ability to take advantage of favourable market conditions and maximize returns on its cocoa exports.

Prof. Aidoo further highlighted the lack of domestic resources and infrastructure to enable Ghana to purchase cocoa beans locally and store them in warehouses.

He argued that this inability to stockpile cocoa means that even when international prices soar, Ghana remains unable to release cocoa onto the market at higher rates, thus missing out on potential profits.

“It is just a shame that as a country we are unable to mobilize resources domestically to be able to buy cocoa so that we can hold it,”he said.

“Cocoa has served us very well but we have not served cocoa well”he noted.

The Economist emphasized the need for Ghana to reevaluate its cocoa marketing strategies and adopt measures that allow for greater flexibility in responding to fluctuating market conditions.

The Public Affairs Manager for Cocobod, Fiifi Boafo, who was on the show, explained that the forward sales strategy is to protect farmers from the hostility of the market.
Mr Fiifi Boafo attributed the decline in cocoa production to adverse weather conditions.

According to him, the significant impact of weather patterns on cocoa cultivation, including heavy rainfall at the start of the cocoa season is a primary concern.

While acknowledging that rainfall is essential for cocoa production, he noted that the excessive precipitation experienced this season hindered the fruiting process, thus reducing the expected harvest.

Furthermore, Mr Boafo highlighted the detrimental effects of severe harmattan conditions on cocoa pods, exacerbating the situation.

“The major contributory factor for low cocoa production is the weather situation we’ve experienced this cocoa season. It started with a heavy rainfall. Then it got to a time where you expected the pods you had to develop for you to harvest then we experienced severe harmattan.

“So this El Niño challenge is largely a contributory factor to the low production we experienced this year,”he told host Evans Mensah.

Mr Boafo also highlighted the swollen shoot disease that has plagued cocoa production.

Giving more details, he said about 590,000 hectares of cocoa farms in Ghana have been affected by the said disease.

Given that, these farms are under rehabilitation and are not producing cocoa beans at the moment.

“At the moment, about 590,000 hectares of cocoa farms in Ghana have been affected by swollen shoot and so it is affecting production. Indeed, we are rehabilitating some of these affected farms. And since the only known solution is cutting the affected trees, all the affected farms are not fruiting at the moment, “he said.

Ghana, one of the world’s leading cocoa producers, has been grappling with declining cocoa production in recent years.

The challenges posed by unpredictable weather patterns, illegal mining, and smuggling among others further exacerbate the already existing pressures on the industry, with repercussions felt both domestically and globally.

Currently, there is a global shortage of cocoa beans, thus shooting up the price of one tonne of cocoa to an unprecedented amount of $10,000.

However, research shows that Ghana might not significantly benefit from this increment since cocoa production has also significantly dropped this year.