Saturday, 1 June 2019

Future of cocoa threatened as farmers moving into rubber and cashew

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has raised a red flag which poses a serious threat to the future of cocoa production as it says, cocoa lands in parts of the country have been lost to cashew and rubber plantations.

Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer COCOBOD disclosed this when he explained why the government decided not to cut down cocoa buying price as means to protect the interest of cocoa farmers despite unfavorable global market price. “The decision to maintain the price was based on environmental and social impact that outweighed the economic effect.”

According COCOBOD, a survey it conducted found that, substantial amounts of cocoa lands in the Eastern region and the former Brong Ahafo region had been lost to cashew and rubber plantations, leading to a decline in contribution to national output from those areas.

“When you go to Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo region, the large tracts of cashew farms you see there now used to be cocoa farms, but because of the low productivity and loss of interest in cocoa farming, farmers started converting their farms to cashew farms,” the CEO has said when responding to questions on Accra based radio, last week.

He furthered that, the government “couldn’t reduce our cocoa price because the productivity is low in Ghana and it would have caused the farmers to lose interest and will motivate farmers to relinquish their cocoa farmlands for illegal mining, rubber and cashew plantations to the detriment of the cocoa industry.

“A decision to decrease cocoa prices in Ghana in the recent past would have marked the beginning of a collapse of cocoa farming in Ghana.”

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