Nana Charles Gyamfi, the 2019 National Best Farmer and President of the National Cocoa Best Farmers Association, emphasizes the necessity of deploying military personnel to border towns on a rotational basis to combat rampant cocoa smuggling activities in the country.
Gyamfi asserts that implementing stringent measures is crucial to address the persistent issue of cocoa smuggling, suggesting the deployment of military personnel to regions where such activities have become commonplace.
He urges immediate action to safeguard the cocoa industry from potential collapse, highlighting the substantial government investment in the sector.
Nana Gyamfi conveyed this perspective during a courtesy visit by cocoa farmers to express gratitude to the president for his significant role in ensuring fair compensation for farmers.
CEO of Cocobod, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, reported that an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes of cocoa were illicitly transported out of Ghana between January and September 2023, resulting in significant financial losses for the country.
Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw and his team conducted an undercover operation on cocoa smuggling, but despite their efforts, the industry continues to suffer.
Against this backdrop, the President of the National Cocoa Best Farmers Association calls for military deployment to decisively address the issue.
Despite the government’s decision to raise cocoa farm gate prices from 800 cedis to 1308 cedis, the porous borders and lack of patriotism facilitate daily transactions that hinder Ghana’s goal of achieving one million metric tonnes of cocoa annually.
Gyamfi notes the smuggling of cocoa from border towns to neighboring countries at prices higher than the government-approved rate. He alleges collusion between some Ghanaian buying companies and counterparts in Cote D’Ivoire, describing it as barbaric.
Advocating for a stricter punishment and the revocation of certificates for companies involved in smuggling, Gyamfi believes this approach could effectively reduce the prevalence of the issue.
He partly attributes the delay in releasing funds to cocoa license-buying companies to the government’s failure to provide timely financial support during main crop seasons, questioning the rationale behind announcing the opening of cocoa crop seasons without adequate funds for on-the-spot purchases.