The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has been accused by the NDC minority in parliament of lying about the country’s cocoa forward sales for the 2023/24 season.
The Minority in a statement signed by MP for Asunafo North and the Ranking member on agriculture and cocoa affairs presented evidence that contradicts the COCOBOD CEO’s claims, prompting calls for an immediate apology to former President John Mahama.
The controversy began when President Mahama criticised the government for setting the farm-gate price for cocoa at a low price of GHS1,308.00 despite a significant surge in the world market price. Aidoo responded to President Mahama’s criticism with an open letter, questioning his understanding of cocoa pricing and claiming that the former president had mistakenly used an incorrect world market price.
According to documents submitted to Parliament, however, it has now been revealed that only 36.2% of Ghana’s cocoa for the 2023/24 season was sold forward and used as collateral for an $800 million syndicated loan. The remaining 63.8% is intended to be sold at spot prices. The minority group argues that Aidoo’s claim of a “greater percentage” being sold forward is false.
The minority group further revealed that COCOBOD disclosed to Parliament that part of the remaining 63.8% of cocoa has already been sold at spot prices between $3,500 and $3,770 per ton. If the worst-case scenario occurs, where the cocoa is sold at the minimum spot price of $3,600 per ton, cocoa farmers could lose an estimated $542,300,000.
The minority group accuses Aidoo of deceiving the nation and impugning ill motive into President Mahama’s factual statements. They are demanding an unqualified apology to the former president, cocoa farmers, and the entire nation.
In response to the controversy, the minority group says it will undertake a series of engagements with cocoa farmers to inform them about the alleged injustice.
This development highlights the ongoing criticism of President Nana Akufo-Addo and Mahamadu Bawumia administration for their treatment of cocoa farmers.
President Mahama and the minority group argue that the government’s actions are shortchanging farmers whose labour supports the country’s economy. They continue to call for transparency and fairness in the cocoa industry.