The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) should be dissolved, according to Nana Boateng Bonsu, president of the Concerned Cocoa Farmers Association.
He claims that since Cocobod has failed to fulfill its obligations on behalf of Ghanaian cocoa growers, the timing is right for producers to sell directly to consumers.
In an interview with JoyNews’ PM Express on Monday, Mr. Bonsu stated that farmers had to be freed since the government-run organization that sets the nation’s purchase price for cocoa is ineffective.
“If they know COCOBOD has collapsed, we should know so that cocoa farmers can sell their products directly to the buyer to make our money rather than relying on the government because the government has nothing better to offer the farmers,” he said.
The President said that many cocoa farmers have been driven to quit their profession due to COCOBOD’s negligence, a problem he believes would be resolved if cocoa farmers had the authority to set the price for their cocoa beans.
“Right now, a lot of farmers are cutting down their cocoa trees and shifting to different crops all because they’ve realized that they have been enslaved for so many years. COCOBOD has put wax in their ears and are not listening to the farmers. There’s nothing happening on the ground. There is no dialogue between farmers and COCOBOD.
Anything that comes to them [COCOBOD] and they think it is beneficial to them or us, they just implement. There is nothing like an engagement or ‘let’s sit down with the farmers since they are those on the ground and see what they want’,” he opined.
In order to maintain spending discipline, COCOBOD will host a monitoring desk run by the Bank of Ghana and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, as he said last week.
This is because of the Board’s enormous yearly losses, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recognized as posing a serious risk to the industry and the government’s financial initiatives.
The Concerned Cocoa Farmers Association President, however, finds the action amusing and doubts Mr. Ofori-Atta’s capacity to carry out his responsibilities.
He claims that the government is merely fooling about with the farmers’ intelligence.
“COCOBOD is a collapsed institution. We know it, we foresaw it and said it several times but they never listened. So for this situation, we don’t need Ken Ofori-Atta and his people [at COCOBOD]. What are they coming to do?” he quizzed.
If they had something better to offer by now Ghana’s economy would have shot up. They have nothing to offer. Cocoa farmers are capable of doing their own things… They should forget about Ken Ofori-Atta and his people,” he stressed.