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Fact-checking #JohnMahamaLIVE Session Three

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Before 2017, cocoa production was on a consistent rise for three consecutive years. Cocoa output reached its second highest in the 2016/ 2017 year after we recorded the one million tonnes output… Since this government took over, however, annual production has continued to decline with no sign of improvement.

Before 2017, cocoa production was on a steady rise for three consecutive years; it has declined since. 

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January 30th featured President John Dramani Mahama in a live social media interaction with Ghanaians. The third session of the #JohnMahamaLIVE series focused on the economy. It included a brief speech and a Q and A session where he answered questions from guests and social media users. 

As expected, the session garnered substantial media traction across platforms; boasting over 6000 and 3000 views on Youtube and Twitter. Facebook was not left out either, generating 135,000 views, 6200 likes and 1969 shares. 

However, what stood out were the ex-President’s claims regarding the cocoa. He attributed the gloomy state of the sector to the current administration; saying the production of cocoa beans declined when President Akufo-Addo’s government came into office in 2017. 

Indigenous Cocoa Production

Ghana is the second-largest cocoa producer in the world after Cote d’Ivoire. Together, the two countries produce over 50 per cent of the world’s cocoa. 

Cocoa production is a major source of employment and revenue for the country. The Ghana Cocoa Board estimates the sector offers employment to over 800,000 families in the country. It earns the country about $2 million in foreign exchange annually.

Verification

Cocoa production in the country has always been in fluctuation. It grew steadily after independence and slumped in later years owing to government policies and global events. In the 2010/2011 crop year, production reached an unprecedented one million metric tonne; thus forming a target governments aim at achieving. 

Fluctuations

Data from the International Cocoa Organisation, depicted in the graph below shows that indeed, cocoa production was on a consistent rise three years before 2017. It is worth noting, however, that this was after a major decline in the 2014/2015 crop year. Production fell from 897,000 tonnes in 2013/2014, to 740,000 in 2014/2015. Thereafter, it rose to hit 969,000 tonnes in 2016/2017, the second-highest cocoa output after the one million tonnes recorded in the 2010/2011 crop year.

Again, as shown in the graph, production has declined since 2017. From 969,000 tonnes in 2016/2017, production fell to 905,000 and 900,000 tonnes in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 respectively.

Cocoa Production In Ghana: 2012 – 2019

Source: Statista

We have requested information from the Ghana Cocoa Board on cocoa output for the years in question. This fact-check will be updated when we get a response.

Caroline Anipah is the Programme Officer of DUBAWA, Ghana. She holds an MPhil in Communication Studies and an undergraduate degree in English and Political Science from the University of Ghana. She is a trained journalist and has engaged in various research activities with notable institutions including Ghana Statistical Service, German Development Institute (GIZ) and the USAID Evaluate for Health over the years. She has also worked with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on a regional (West Africa-wide) comprehensive research on the state of the media. She brings to the project and team, her experience in both media and research.

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