22 June 1998
Government’s hand in Ghanaian cocoa business

GHANAS cocoa production is being held back by state control, according to the Financial Times in a special section on the country.

The state-run marketing board, Cocobod, controls 70% of domestic purchasing through the Produce Buying Company (PBC), a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Cocoa plays a huge part in Ghanas exports – cocoa export receipts amounted for $464 million out of the national total of $1.48bn in 1997.

But a large part of the revenues ise swallowed up in bureaucracy. Cocobods running costs are currently more than $84m, equivalent to 45% of Ghanas foreign revenue earnings for its non-traditional exports.

Cocobods employees cost an average $8,000 a year, when Ghanas average annual per capita income is about $450.

One of the terms of the latest International Monetary Fund agreement with the country is that Cocobods PBC is sold to the private sector. Experts believe that if this does not happen then considerable production will be smuggled across the border to adjacent states which have freed up their markets.

  • Financial Times 22/06/98 page 14 (Ghana)