COCOBOD has suspended the much criticized construction of cocoa roads after an interim audit revealed a lot of discrepancies in the project, its Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo disclosed.
According to him over 230 different road contracts were awarded under the previous regime to the tune of over GH?3.5billion, way above the financial muscle of COCOBOD.
He explained that the preliminary audit revealed outrageous cost components of most of the contracts.
“We are just suspending the project to make way for a comprehensive audit which will give us a clearer picture because we need to protect the public purse especially money coming from the sweat of modest cocoa farmers “, he reiterated.
This paper has learnt that out of the 230 recorded cocoa roads contracts awarded by former CEO, Dr Stephen Opuni, 30 cannot be traced in any town or community.
Mr Boahen Aidoo made the revelation when both the Board of COCOBOD and management paid a courtesy call on the Okyehene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin
Hackman Owusu Agyemang, Board Chairman of COCOBOD in a brief statement said although the Board inherited huge challenges, both financial and administrative, the Board, together with the new Management have resolved to surmount them.
The CEO said as part of the drive to significantly raise the nation’s cocoa production level to the targeted 1million tonnes, COCOBOD had introduced hand pollination.
Through artificial pollination, per hectare yield of the crop could hit two tonnes from the current average of 400 kilograms the farmers are getting.
He however said he for a start 7,000 farmers would be trained.
The pollination, combined with fertilizer application and the cocoa farms irrigation project is likely to restore cocoa production.