Ghana’s cocoa industry regulator called for boosting the rate farmers get for their crops by more than 60% to discourage them from smuggling beans to the neighbouring Ivory Coast where returns for the commodity are better.
The proposed new farm-gate price is 20,800 cedis ($1,825) a ton for the season that started Friday, up from 12,800 cedis for the current season, according to President Akufo-Addo.
Announcing the price adjustment at the opening of the new crop season at Tepa, President Akufo-Addo said the new price is aimed at sustaining the cocoa sector.
“The sustainability of the entire industry hinges on a well-remunerated producer who is willing to invest in the business, only with the certainty that the government will pay the appropriate price. With predicted stable prices above the 2,600 USD threshold, the government will continue to honour our farmers with good prices in the years ahead,” he said.
“Until recently, international prices of cocoa have remained relatively low and made worse by COVID-19. This has had an adverse impact on COCOBOD’s financial performance,” the President added.
Minister for Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, says the upward adjustment forms part of the turnaround strategy to salvage the cocoa sector.
He believes the new prices would improve the livelihood of farmers, assuring that the management of COCOBOD will implement policies for the industry.
“Cocoa farmers will agree with me that history is not accepted at the cashier office when school reopens but cash is what is accepted, and cash is what you’ll put in the pockets of cocoa farmers. The announcement is part of the COCOBOD turn around the president ordered, and I assure the nation that COCOBOD has recovered and will deliver the mandate to cocoa farmers,” he said.
Meanwhile, for the first time in the history of the cocoa industry, a new crop season is opening in September, instead of October.
COCOBOD CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo explains the essence is to avoid the hoarding of cocoa by farmers as the practice affects the quality of the commodity.
“For the past three to four months when we entered the large crop season (July to September), we’ve not been receiving the cocoa. This is because people disputed the new price. So on a weekly basis, we were not getting the cocoa. The longer we wait to announce the new season, the worse the quality of the cocoa can be,” he said.
Some excited cocoa farmers are convinced the new price would discourage many farmers from smuggling the commodity to neighbouring countries.
The opening season ceremony was held under the theme “Securing decent incomes for cocoa farmers”.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES