The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hon. Joseph BoahenAidoo, has said that but for meticulous audit and the exercise of fiscal prudence by his management team, COCOBOD would have lost $80 million dollars to mischievous and unusual cocoa fertilizer contracts executed by the previous regime.
According to the COCOBOD boss, contracts for supply of fertilizers were entered into arbitrarily at the expense of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer.
“After some audit work, we invited some of the suppliers to re-negotiate the prices down because we realized they were too high”, he added.
Hon. Aidoo was worried the free fertilizer programme introduced in 2014 was besieged with reckless and exploitative procedures in which, in many instances, led to diversion and smuggling of fertilizers to as far as in Cameroun.
He said, following concerns raised by farmers at various engagements, a decision was taken to revert to the subsidized fertilizer programme which hinges on accessibility, fairness, and transparency and called on farmers to support it.
Hon. Joseph Aidoo made these remarks when he received a delegation of Cocoa Farmers from the Asunafo South District of the Brong Ahafo Region at his office in Accra.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Nana Isaac Appiah, 2014 Brong Ahafo Regional chief farmer thanked Government for painstakingly maintaining the cocoa producer price at GHc7,600.00 per tonne even though the world price had plummeted to as low as $1,900 per tonne.
Nana Appiah appealed to COCOBOD to consider rehabilitating some major roads linking cocoa communities to facilitate the carting of cocoa beans to buying centres. He also called on COCOBOD to give special allocation of fertilizers and agro-chemicals to best farmers to help them keep up their farm yields. He made a passion request for a clinic to be built in the Brong Ahafo Region since the Region is undoubtedly the leading producer of cocoa in the country.
The Asunafo South District Chief, Hon. Osei Bonsu, who led the delegation to COCOBOD, pledged his outfit’s unflinching support in the implementation of all the initiatives of the Board.