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I Inherited a Broke COCOBOD in 2017 – CEO Laments

COCOBOD under the John Mahama administration spent the entire $1.8 billion it secured in 2016, leaving no funds for the new management that took office in 2017.

COCOBOD CEO, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has disclosed that his outfit encountered financial difficulties when he took office in January 2017.

According to him, the previous management under the John Mahama administration spent the entire $1.8 billion it secured in 2016, leaving no funds for the new management that took office in 2017.

“They (John Mahama’s Administration) bought about 600,000 metric tonnes before we came in. With cocoa, the peak harvest period is October, November, December, and January. So within the first quarter of the season, from October to December 2016, the previous administration bought over 600,000 metric tonnes. When we assumed office, there was no money, meanwhile, we had to buy cocoa till the end of the season from January to September,” he said.

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He indicated further that, his assumption of office as COCOBOD CEO was met with the challenge of continuing cocoa purchases despite a lack of funds, adding that the only solution was for them to request support from the Bank of Ghana.

“We were forced to go to the Bank of Ghana to borrow. Within that period, we bought over 300,000 metric tonnes and we had to pay the farmers, we had to pay for haulage, the buyer’s margin, and operational costs. We sought help from the Bank of Ghana who became an intermediary between the Board and the consolidated banks and we got over GH₵2 billion,” he said.

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Ghana’s cocoa industry has been experiencing a decline for a long time, resulting in farmers being exploited and neglected. However, with effective management by the appropriate state authorities, this valuable commodity, which is a global leader, has the potential to transform the country’s fortunes and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

This year, the current crop figures declined, with member firms facing difficulties in maintaining their operations and struggling to stay in business.

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