The managing director of Kuapa Kokoo, Mr. Emmanuel Kwabena Arthur has observed that the high incentive behind the smuggling of cocoa out of the shores of Ghana to neighboring countries is generally borne out of farmers not benefiting fully from their toils.
He said farmers in Ghana are suffering due to the fact that what they earn is much less compared to what their counterparts in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire and other countries are earning.
He advised that ‘’a remedy should be found for this problem as soon as possible if the farmers are going to realize the full benefits of their toils”.
Mr. Emmanuel Arthur voiced out this concerns during Kuapa Kokoo’s 20th Annual General Meeting held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology last Friday, 31st July 2014.
He further lamented over some operational challenges that confront the Ghanaian LBCs like, inadequate seed funds for the purchase of cocoa from COCOBOD and congestion at the takeover centers, leading to defects on the cocoa.
He attributed the other challenges to the poor road infrastructure and high interest rates banks place on loans. He explained these points saying also that the poor road infrastructure affects the delivery of cocoa from the cocoa growing communities .This according to him could lead to the collapse of the local LBC’s if not checked.
He further complained that the banks were killing the LBC’s with the high interest rates they place on loans which in turn affects the produce of the cocoa farmer.
In proffering the solution to the current worrying trend, Mr. .Arthur suggested that, “the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) must as soon as possible upwardly review the producer price for cocoa which has not been reviewed for the past four years”.
He reported to the delegates that Kuapa Kokoo Limited last year purchased 48,246 metric tonnes of cocoa in the 2012/13 crop season – capturing about 5.7% of the market share. The company recorded a turnover of GH₵183.8million and a profit before finance cost of GH₵6.8million.
However, the profit that would have gone to improve the livelihood of the farmers was absorbed under finance cost, leaving only GH₵203,561.00 as net profit.
Mr. Arthur concluded saying ”The situation as persist currently may worsen with the coming season as the banks are quoting between 27% and 30% interest rates and this is giving the LBCs a lot headache.”