News / Economy

Ghana's Currency Slump Spurs Increase in Cocoa Smuggling

FILE - Men pour out cocoa beans to dry in Niable, at the border between Ivory Coast and Ghana.
FILE - Men pour out cocoa beans to dry in Niable, at the border between Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Zlatica Hoke

Cocoa beans have been smuggled between Ivory Coast and neighboring Ghana for years. Until recently, Ivorian growers most often illegally sent their cocoa beans into Ghana where the prices were higher and more stable. A recent slump in the Ghanaian currency and political stabilization in Ivory Coast, however, have tipped the balance. Ghanaian farmers are now the ones who smuggle their beans into Ivory Coast, where they get more money for them.

During recent political turmoil in Ivory Coast, Ghana's stability and fixed cocoa prices made it an attractive market to Ivorian growers. But the situation in Ivory Coast is now settled and the government has established a minimum price to be paid to cocoa farmers to keep Ivorian cocoa beans at home. Meanwhile, Ghana's currency, the cedi, has declined by more than 40 percent against the dollar this year. For the cocoa growers, this means a loss of income. They can make a bigger profit by smuggling their output to Ivory Coast and selling it at a higher price.

"The farmers are compelled to give most of their produce to the buyers from Ivory Coast so they can get enough money for their children; it is not that they are willing.  It is the situation that is compelling them to do so,” said Alfred Allotey, a cocoa depot manager.

Ghanaian farmers who do not send their cocoa beans to Ivory Coast are urging the government to stop the practice.

"Ghana is our country. We use the cocoa to pay our men, to build our hospitals and all kinds of roads. If we don't stop them, our country is going to go down,” said one Ghanaian farmer.

One way to discourage the smuggling would be to increase the price of cocoa in Ghana, but the government has accumulated a budget deficit and can hardly afford that. As long as there are buyers in Ivory Coast who will pay more for Ghana's better quality beans, the smuggling is likely to continue.  And some Ivorians see nothing wrong with that.

"It's not the cooperatives who will help them out, because they are the ones who will be paying for their own fuel in order to sell their cocoa and I for one will buy it from them. That's the way it is,” said Adoni Nkanza, a member of a cooperative.

Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer and exporter of the cocoa bean, an essential ingredient in producing chocolate. Ivory Coast, Ghana and other West African countries together produce two-thirds of the world's cocoa crop.  Industry sources estimate that since last October, up to 100,000 tons of beans have been trafficked across the border into Ivory Coast. Industry officials say they will open discussions on how the two countries can work together to combat the smuggling. 

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8140
JPY
USD
118.81
GBP
USD
0.6402
CAD
USD
1.1597
INR
USD
63.066

Rates may not be current.