The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has revealed its decision to halt the construction of cocoa roads once ongoing projects are completed.
COCOBOD initiated the Cocoa Road Programme to address transport challenges for agro-input delivery to cocoa farmers and to facilitate cocoa bean evacuation.
CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo stated at the 50th Anniversary Celebration symposium of the Cocoa Clinic that this policy shift stems from negotiations with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Both entities, he said, questioned COCOBOD’s involvement in road construction, urging a focus on core functions.
“The EU sent a team last year to do due diligence on sustainable production and when they came, they wanted to know why COCOBOD was involved in cocoa roads construction because it is not a core business of COCOBOD, and they insisted that we take that venture out of our equation; and, of course, the IMF is also saying the same thing”. “They say that we can continue with what we are currently constructing and not start new ones”, Mr Boahen said.
He also outlined plans for establishing healthcare centres in cocoa-growing communities to enhance medical accessibility for farmers, citing instances of arduous journeys for healthcare as a driving factor.
“I have had the experience where a woman, who was in labour and couldn’t deliver, had to be carried in a hammock and travelled over 28 kilometres and couldn’t survive. And, when we look at the countryside to see how our cocoa farmers struggle to access health delivery, you will be touched to do something; and that is why, as an institution, it is important to bring health services and facilities as closer to these farmers as possible”.