Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has urged farmers, particularly those in cocoa-growing areas, to work with chiefs to combat unlawful mining.
Illegal mining operations, sometimes known as galamsey operations, he said, constituted a threat to agriculture and the country’s food security.
Mr. Aidoo, speaking at a conference in Kumasi with regional and district chief cocoa growers from the Bono, Bono East, Western, Western North, and Ashanti Regions, called for a coordinated effort to combat the threat.
The meeting’s goal was to get firsthand knowledge about the issues that cocoa producers experience so that COCOBOD could collaborate with stakeholders to find solutions.
The COCOBOD CEO went on to say that if the galamsey problem is not addressed, farmers will soon find it impossible to acquire water for irrigation reasons.
According to him, Ghana, as an agrarian country, could not achieve sustainable growth without relying heavily on irrigation, hence it behooved everyone to preserve water sources from unlawful mining activities.
He claimed that the four consecutive downgrades of Ghana’s credit ratings had made it difficult for COCOBOD to secure credit because the country was unable to sign the sovereignty loan.
He stated that as a result of the delay in obtaining the syndicated loan, some cocoa producers had begun diverting their produce to Ivory Coast.
Mr. Aidoo, on the other hand, indicated that the minimum guarantee price was always granted to Ghana’s cocoa growers and that it remained constant regardless of whether the price declined or grew.
He stated that this was true for all cocoa bean categories, implying that category A, B, and Ruminants prices always decreased on the international market by 20%, 30%, and 40%, respectively, whereas the minimum guarantee price could not be reduced under any circumstances.
He noted that Ghana’s cocoa producers had received the greatest price in the last five years when compared to Côte d’Ivoire, stressing that recent currency instability has impacted the Ghana cedi.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo encouraged farmers to visit COCOBOD when they needed information.