Ghana Faces over $500 Million Decline in Cocoa Revenue Due to Galamsey, Other Factors

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Ghana’s cocoa industry has encountered a substantial financial setback in the first quarter of 2024, with revenue plummeting by over $500 million. This alarming decline has been attributed to a confluence of factors including illegal mining activities, adverse weather conditions, the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD), and rampant smuggling.

Fiifi Boafo, Head of Public Affairs at COCOBOD, elucidated the primary contributors to this downturn during an interview on JoyNews Desk. Boafo underscored the severe impact of illegal mining activities on cocoa production, stating that these activities disrupt cocoa harvesting by cutting off farmers from their farms.

Moreover, the environmental ramifications of illegal mining, such as polluted water bodies necessary for irrigating cocoa farms, have compounded the challenges faced by farmers. Boafo emphasized, “Illegal mining activities are polluting water bodies needed to irrigate cocoa farms.”

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Adverse weather conditions, exemplified by the El Niño phenomenon causing warmer and drier conditions, have further diminished cocoa yields. Boafo elaborated, “The El Niño phenomenon caused warmer and drier conditions, leading to lower yields.”

Adding to these adversities is the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD), which has ravaged over 500,000 hectares of cocoa farms. Boafo highlighted the extensive scale of this issue, revealing that “Over $200 million was spent to rehabilitate farms affected by Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease.”

In response, COCOBOD has implemented various measures, including legal actions against smugglers and illegal miners. Boafo disclosed that “five individuals are already jailed, and several cases are pending in court.” Additionally, COCOBOD is offering financial support to cocoa farmers by providing higher payments for their produce and assisting farmers in prosecuting miners who interfere with their farms.

Despite the production shortfall, Boafo expressed confidence in COCOBOD’s ability to secure necessary funding, assuring that it would not affect their chances of accessing the cocoa syndicated loan.

The challenges facing Ghana’s cocoa industry underscore the imperative need for sustainable solutions to safeguard and support cocoa farmers. Through concerted efforts and strategic interventions, COCOBOD aims to mitigate these challenges and restore the industry’s economic vitality.

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