Cocoa farmers in the Eastern Region of Ghana are alleging that foreign nationals aided by local officials are gradually taking over their cocoa farms.
Speaking in an interview, the cocoa farmers said they were nervous and scared about a possible takeover of the predominantly indigenous industry by the foreigners.
The cocoa farmers who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that the foreign nationals, including an undisclosed Japanese firm are in the process of acquiring cocoa farms in the Eastern Region through middlemen and cocoa buying officers.
According to them, there is no clarity on laws that make cocoa farmers the sole preserve of Ghanaians and want COCOBOD to come out and explain whether or not foreign nationals are permitted to own cocoa farms in the country.
One cocoa farmer said in the interview that “we’ve lost our garage business to purely Lebanese, our gold is sliding off to the Chinese and now our mainstay of agriculture that is cocoa is becoming the focus of Japanese? he quizzed.”
The farmers also added that most of their cocoa farms have been invaded by illegal miners in search of gold.
Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo in a recent visit to some affected cocoa farms in the Eastern Region warned of dire consequences for the cocoa industry if security is not beefed up to deal with these perpetrators.
Ghana’s cocoa sector remains the backbone of the economy considering its huge contribution to GDP.
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