Ghana's Cocoa Farmers Turn To Smuggling As Currency Falls

Ghana's cocoa farmers turn to smuggling as currency falls

Suhum, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Jun, 2024) Ghanaian cocoa farmer Isaac Antwi says he has to smuggle his beans to Ivory Coast to sell them at a decent profit even as international prices for the commodity recently surged.

He is not the only farmer to have turned to illicit trade in the world's number two cocoa producer as the country's currency, the cedi, has fallen sharply and production costs have soared.

"With the cedi losing value every day, selling in Ghana just doesn't cut it," said Antwi, who lives in Suhum, in the Eastern Region, 74 kilometres (46 miles) from the capital, Accra.

"The prices are better across the border, and the stronger Currency means I can feed my family and pay off my debts.

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Ghana is emerging from one of it worst economic crisis in years after securing a $3 billion credit from the International Monetary Fund and restructuring most of its debt.

But the depreciation of the cedi, which has lost over 20 percent of its value against the Dollar this year, has severely impacted the profitability of cocoa farming even as international prices topped $10,000 per tonne in March before receding in recent months.

Production costs have jumped, with fertilisers and other materials needed to farm becoming increasingly expensive.