Cocoa sector requires more protection

Cocoa sector requires more protection for our export earnings to be secure,

A sobering analysis regarding the state of the nation's cocoa export revenues was released in the Ghana Statistical Service's (GSS) weekly trade newsletter.

The research states that compared to the same period in 2023, the export value of cocoa goods in the first quarter of this year fell by about 32.8%, resulting in earnings of a low of US$592.2 million.

Additionally, when compared to the average of the previous three years, it shows a loss of export revenue of $233.6 million.

In comparison to the first quarters of the previous three years (2021, 2022 and 2023), this amount is likewise significant. 

An alarming trend has emerged: the first quarter of the year is often the busiest for cocoa product exports. 

The research states that the decrease was caused by a precipitous drop in cocoa bean shipments in the third quarter of the previous two years. 

While cocoa bean exports never dropped below US$225 million in 2021, they hit a low of $44.7 million in 2022 and 13.5 million in 2023.

The Graphic Business is deeply concerned about this situation because cocoa appears to be the country's primary source of foreign exchange revenues.

We are aware of reports that put the fall in the country's cocoa production down to a number of issues, the most important of which being the rapid destruction of the cocoa vegetation across all cocoa growing areas caused by illicit mining activities, including galamsey.

Swollen shoot disease is another, and aged cocoa trees that have outlived their usefulness are another.

As far as we're concerned, this new development is a major warning sign that the administration can no longer ignore.

More must be done to safeguard revenue streams, like the export of cash crops like cocoa, which continues to be the country's principal source of foreign currency, especially now that the country's doors have been sealed by international capital markets due to its unsustainable debt levels.

To this day, our publication still doesn't understand why the government hasn't been able to halt the rampant destruction in cocoa-growing regions caused by galamsey, thereby safeguarding our most important source of income.

In the event that these illicit mining techniques decimate the cocoa tree population, we are concerned about the future of our nation.

Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is currently deeply in debt due to its inability to sell enough cocoa to cover the massive amounts of money that were syndicated to buy the crop.

Our government should stop merely expressing concern about this galamsey threat; the sooner it does so, the better for both current and future generations, as the Graphic Business can tell without a doubt that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.

I find it incomprehensible that we are standing by while a handful of corrupt individuals ruin the foundation of our nation's wealth at a time when our finances are so dire that we must borrow internally to fund development projects.

It is deeply troubling and tragic that we lost as much as $237 million in only one quarter, when we should normally be collecting more money from the sale of the cash crop. This report should not be taken lightly or taken for granted.

We should be worried about this scenario because we are the second-largest producer of the crop. 

It should be remembered that other nations, including China, are devoting significant resources to studying how to begin commercial cocoa production, so they can compete with Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.

We are praying that this report will serve as a wake-up call to do the right thing and prevent the continued damage of our cocoa fields.


Source : Graphiconline.com

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