Ghana Cocobod CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has revealed a decrease in cocoa production in the first quarter of 2024 compared to last year, resulting in a fall in revenue by more than $500 million.

In an interview on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday, June 12, Mr. Boahen Aidoo attributed the shortfall to bad weather conditions, bean disease, illegal mining and smuggling activities being perpetrated by persons he described as nation-wreckers.

According to him, the foreigners, particularly Russians operating from Ghana’s neighbouring countries and with nothing to lose, pay high prices for the smuggled cocoa beans and in turn, sell the beans on the black market for windfall profits.

“There are some Russians in Guinea…. we have some Russians there, and then Togo and they are buying, they want to buy the cocoa spot, they sell spot, they have nothing to lose. They don’t spray, they don’t buy chemicals for farmers, they are not providing any extension services for farmers, nothing. So they can afford to sell spot. When they get the cocoa, they go to the market, they can sell at $10,000.”

He said though there have been some arrests, the practice if not permanently handled will have dire consequences for the sector in the future.

“Some have been imprisoned, and you know the minimum sentence is five years, but people still dare,” he lamented.