Former Member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Bernard Allotey Jacobs has advised the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to assume they have no understanding of the cocoa sector if they want to save it.
He believes the management of COCOBOD must engage with farmers so they relearn the basics of cocoa farming to understand why farmers are losing interest in growing cocoa.
On his accord, some cocoa farmers in the Central Region have cleared large tracts of cocoa farms to plant rubber trees. “There is a rubber company in the enclave enticing farmers with money and seedlings to make sure their factory survives and because of this, cocoa trees have been cut down”, he disclosed.
He furthered that visiting Tain for a by election, he also noticed that cocoa farmers were replacing cocoa trees with cashew, “and if the cocoa industry is not checked, it will die off in the next 10 years”, he revealed in an interview on Happy98.9FM’s Epa Hoa Daben political talk show hosted by Don Kwabena Prah.
Sharing other things discouraging cocoa farmers from growing the cash crop, he added, “the cocoa buying agencies do not make prompt payments to farmers and this may also be a problem discouraging farmers”.
Advising COCOBOD on how to make cocoa farming once again attractive to farmers he stated, “Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the CEO of COCOBOD has done a good job ever since he took office. But now, he doesn’t need to be sitting in the office. He needs to be visiting cocoa farms, get his regional and district officers to do same and ask the farmers what is wrong. COCOBOD must pose itself as a failing company which will then consult farmers on how to improve the sector”.