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COCOBOD TO REVOKE LICENSES OF LBCS INVOLVED IN COCOA SMUGGLING

Date: 07th June 2024

Ghana’s cocoa regulator has announced it will revoke the licenses of any Licensed Buying Company (LBC) found complicit in smuggling cocoa beans to neighbouring countries.

The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, sounded the caution during a meeting with representatives of the LBCs to officially announce the closure of the main cocoa season, discuss preparations towards the 2024 Light Crop Season and pertinent challenges confronting the sector. 

Describing individuals involved in cocoa smuggling as nation wreckers who deprive the country of essential revenue from substantial investments in the sector, COCOBOD's CE stated that management will ensure those individuals and companies face the full rigours of the law. 

“So far we haven’t heard of any LBC involved in activities of smuggling but let me sound this caution that we will not spare anyone found culpable; we will withdraw your licenses and blacklist you from doing business with us if we find any link of your company to smuggling”, he emphasised.

The COCOBOD CE’s caution comes amidst several arrests made in the last few months by the Anti-Cocoa Smuggling Taskforce in conjunction with the country’s security agencies, with some individuals convicted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. 

According to Hon Boahen Aidoo, cocoa smuggling has become increasingly prevalent. He stated, "Today, countries like Burkina Faso and other Sahelian nations are engaging in the export of cocoa. Where do these countries get cocoa to export if not through smuggling?"

Reflecting on the 2023/24 crop season, he noted that the sector experienced its worst performance in 15 years and urged Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) to support the Board's efforts in preventing this issue from escalating.

He noted that issues such as funding, crop failure resulting from the devastating impact of El Nino and climate change, the effects of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease and illegal mining were other serious challenges that confronted the sector during the year under review.

Hon Aidoo however expressed optimism about the prospects of the sector in the coming season in light of the current favourable weather conditions and the massive investments made through the Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs).

Meanwhile, representatives of the LBCs, in their solidarity messages, expressed their commitment to supporting COCOBOD management in addressing the myriad challenges facing the industry to ensure the sustainability of the cocoa sector.

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