The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has announced the release of monies to licensed buying companies (LBCs) to fund this season’s purchase of cocoa and has accused the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of politicising the work of the cocoa sector.
The riposte follows allegations by the NDC that COCOBOD is deliberately refusing to release funds to local LBCs to purchase cocoa for the 2020/21 season.
A press release from COCOBOD said: “Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is deeply concerned about how the NDC has resorted to overpoliticising the cocoa sector and refusing to acknowledge the positive things that have happened in the sector in the past three and a half years.
“We wish to assure cocoa farmers and all stakeholders in the value chain that despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to all institutions, funds have been dispatched to the LBCs to promptly pay for their cocoa.”
COCOBOD, the central institution for managing and trading in cocoa in Ghana, said it is not right to suggest, as a recent press statement by the NDC has done, that any delay in payments for the LBCs is a deliberate ploy by the current cocoa administration.
“The seed fund is the support provided by the government through COCOBOD to the LBCs to augment their funds for the purchase of cocoa, and is not supposed to be an exclusive source of funds for the purchase of cocoa,” it explained.
The Board further said it is rather surprising that the NDC, “knowing that COCOBOD was yet to receive funds from the [international] consortium of banks [which funds the purchase of cocoa each season], decided to sink this low by releasing this statement to score political points”.
Good price in Ghana
“We wish to reiterate the fact that COCOBOD has no intention of doing anything that will disadvantage any LBC,” the Board said.
It added: “It is refreshing to note from the [NDC press] statement, the NDC’s admittance that farmers selling their cocoa outside Ghana will lead to them being worse off due to the higher price announced by the government compared to neighbouring countries.
“This feat has been achieved as a result of the joint proactive initiation and implementation of the Living Income Differential pricing mechanism, which has seen Ghana increase farmgate cocoa prices by more than 28% for the 2020/21 crop season.”
COCOBOD assured farmers that it is ready and able to work hard to ensure prompt payment for their produce.