Ghana Cocoa Board
The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is a Ghanaian government-controlled institution that fixes the buying price for cocoa in Ghana, the world's second largest producer of the commodity. The price-fixing is seen[by whom?] as an attempt to protect farmers from the volatile prices on the world market. While an overwhelming majority of cocoa is covered by the Cocobod, some special types of cocoa are not included, such as some fair trade, organic and high-quality beans. Besides the price-fixing, the organisation sells higher quality hybrid seeds, and does some research on cocoa plant-related diseases.
Between 1947 and 1979, the institution was known as the Cocoa Marketing Board.
In 1937, farmers in Gold Coast, a colony of the British Empire equal to contemporary Ghana, refused to continue selling cocoa at the low prices set by European merchants and decided to withhold cocoa from the market. The strike went on for 8 months, until the British government acted by setting up the Nowell Commission of Enquiry to investigate the issue. The Nowell Commission report advised the government to assist cocoa farmers by establishing a Marketing Board.
West African Produce Control Board (1940-1946)
In 1940, the government established the West African Produce Control Board to purchase cocoa under guaranteed prices from all West African countries. It operated throughout World War II and was dissolved in 1946.
Cocoa Marketing Board (1947-1979)
The Ghana Marketing Board was established by ordinance in 1947 with the sum of 27 million Ghanaian Cedi as its initial working capital. In 1979, this Board was dissolved and reconstituted as the Ghana Cocoa Board.
Ghana Cocoa Board (1979-)
In 1984 Cocobod underwent institutional reform aimed at subjecting the cocoa sector to market forces. Cocobod's role was reduced, and 40 percent of its staff, or at least 35,000 employees, were dismissed. Furthermore, the government shifted responsibility for crop transport to the private sector. Subsidies for production inputs (fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and equipment) were removed, and there was a measure of privatization of the processing sector through at least one joint venture. In addition, a new payment system known as the Akuafo Check System was introduced in 1982 at the point of purchase of dried beans.
Cocobod's self-declared goals are:
- Encourage the production of cocoa, coffee and sheanut
- Initiate programmes aimed at controlling pests and diseases of cocoa, coffee and sheanut.
- Undertake and encourage the processing of cocoa, coffee, sheanut and cocoa waste with the aim of adding value for export and local consumption.
- Undertake, promote and encourage scientific research aimed at improving the quality of cocoa, coffee, sheanut and other tropical crops.
- Regulate the internal marketing of cocoa, coffee and sheanut
- Secure the most favourable arrangements for the purchase, grading and sealing, certification, sale and export of cocoa, coffee and sheanut
- Purchase, market and export cocoa and cocoa products produced in Ghana which is graded under the Cocoa Industry (Regulations) (Consolidation) Decree, 1968 NLCD 278, or any other enactment as suitable for export
- Assist in the development of the cocoa, coffee and sheanut industries of Ghana.