We’ll Stay Focused Despite Cartel Label – COCOBOD Boss

Joseph Boahen Aidoo

The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo says Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire will remain focused on pursuing policies and plans to improve the cocoa industries in the respective countries, despite the negative publications in the western media.

He said the pushback from the western media and the “cocoa cartel” label which they have placed on the two top cocoa-producing countries, in news stories about the new cocoa trading mechanism and the Living Income Differential (LID), will not derail the well-intended attempts to raise the living standards of cocoa farmers.

Mr Boahen Aidoo made these comments at a ceremony held in his honour by a group called Friends Of Boahen Aidoo; which has as its members, a very large number of mostly youthful men and women from the Western Region.

A number of recent stories from western media outlets have projected a rise in the prices of chocolate and cocoa products, attributing said rise to the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire cocoa trading mechanism which was implemented last year.

“They continue to blame us”, Hon. Aidoo said, “though we have settled on the price and are already selling the cocoa. They say that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have formed a cartel and so, if the price of chocolate goes up, it should be blamed on us.”

Mr Boahen Aidoo noted that, this year, COCOBOD is focused on making sure that the LID works just as intended, so that cocoa farmers will begin to feel the actual impact in their pockets. He added that this year will be a memorable one for cocoa farmers. It will be full of good news.

“This year, there will be more good news for cocoa farmers. It will be the first time that a motorised tool will be used for weeding cocoa farms and for cutting away mistletoes [a parasitic plant which grows on cocoa branches].”

It is expected that, this year, COCOBOD will roll out some new interventions and step-up its efforts on already existing ones, such as, the formation of cocoa farmer cooperatives and the campaign to widen the adoption of pruning and hand pollination among the farmers.

There are hints of another significant increase to the producer price of cocoa, to follow that of last year. This will be in large part due to the Living Income Differential (LID) on Ghana’s cocoa.

Another important cocoa-farmer centred programme which is expected to commence this year is the farmer pension scheme.

Mr Boahen Aidoo said President Nana Akufo-Addo is to be credited with the success attained so far in the cocoa industry. He was very thankful to the president; for his vision; his leadership and his support for the programmes aimed at improving the cocoa sector as a whole and the lives of cocoa farmers in particular.