Joseph Boahen Aidoo
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has urged farmers, especially those in cocoa growing areas, to collaborate with chiefs to fight illegal mining activities.
According to him, illegal mining activities, popularly known as galamsey operations, remained a threat to agriculture and the country’s food security.
Speaking at a meeting in Kumasi with regional and district chief cocoa farmers of the Bono, Bono East, Western, Western North and Ashanti Regions, Mr. Aidoo called for a concerted effort to deal with the menace.
The meeting was aimed at obtaining first-hand information, regarding the challenges faced by cocoa farmers to enable COCOBOD team up with stakeholders to find solutions to them.
The COCOBOD CEO continued that the galamsey menace, if allowed to go on, would soon make it difficult for farmers to have access to water for irrigation purposes.
For him, Ghana, as an agrarian economy, could not achieve sustainable growth without largely depending on irrigation, which therefore behooved all and sundry to protect water bodies from activities of illegal mining.
He said the downgrading of Ghana’s credit ratings for four consecutive times had made it difficult for COCOBOD to obtain credit since the nation was not able to sign the sovereignty loan.
He noted that this had led to the delay in acquiring the syndicated loan, and as a result, some cocoa farmers had begun diverting their produce to Ivory Coast.
Mr. Aidoo, however, explained that the minimum guarantee price was always given to Ghana’s cocoa farmers which he said remained unchangeable whether the price decreased or increased.
He said this was applicable to all categories of the cocoa bean, intimating that the category A, B and Ruminants prices were always reduced on the international market by 20%, 30% and 40% respectively, while the minimum guarantee price could not be reduced irrespective of any situation.
He stated that Ghana’s cocoa farmers had been receiving the highest price in the last five years as compared to Côte d’Ivoire, noting that the recent exchange rate volatility had affected the Ghana cedi.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo called on farmers to knock on the doors of COCOBOD when they needed information or clarification of an issue before going to the public with those.