Mr Joshua G. Makubu, Oti Regional Minister, has revealed that the menace of cocoa smuggling in the Oti region was not only affecting revenue generation but also development such as cocoa roads.
He said in 2019, the region used to produce about 8,000 tonnes of cocoa but “as we speak the Oti region is struggling to even be able to make 100 tonnes”.
Mr Makubu said the decrease in production was not because the trees were not yielding but whatever cocoa produced was smuggled out of the country which was affecting revenue and development including the cocoa roads.
The Regional Minister made the observation at a Ghana Boundary Commission community engagement at Likpe, in the Guan District of the Oti Region.
He said: “Each time you are taking cocoa across the boundaries of Ghana, and you see any road untarred under the cocoa road project, you should know that we have done it for ourselves and not that government is not interested”.
He urged traditional leaders to talk to their subjects to see that the menace was stopped to build the nation and enjoy it.
Dr Makubu said he would meet the Regional Manager of the COCOBOD and get to know all the local buying points and find out if they had sufficient funds to be able to buy adding that if that was assured, the Regional Security Council would also ensure that they police the system and unapproved routes to apprehend the culprits.
He said the Region’s contribution to the national cocoa stock was affecting how much revenue the country made from the sale of cocoa and for that matter their roads since COCOBOD was not in the position to be able to continue the various cocoa road projects.
Mr Makubu said some cocoa roads had been abandoned in the Guan District as well as in Nkwanta including the road from Breweniase through Pusupu to Bontibor and linking up to the main Nkwanta road.
He said there had been some level of progress with the help of the National Security to curb the menace, but it was unsatisfactory and would continue to work with them and community leaders to ensure that the Region returned to its past glory of contributing not less than 9,000 tonnes to the country’s cocoa stock.