January 1, 2019

The Minority is demanding a realistic price for cocoa as the 2019/2020 season begins next month, with farmers anxiously waiting on government to determine the producer price for the commodity.

According to the Ranking member on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs Committee, Erick Opoku the past three years of the Akufo-Addo led administration has famished and exposed cocoa farmers to extreme poverty.

“Most cocoa farmers have had to pawn their farms in order to survive under the current excruciating economic condition in the country, and to arrive at realistic price, successive governments have considered some critical factors like cost of living, FOB price of cocoa and premium receipts for the delivery of the best quality cocoa in the world”.

In a statement, he further pointed out that there is high operational cost and exchange rate going high, and gave an example that in 2016, a bag of cocoa was purchased at Ghc475 and a bag of cement was sold at Ghc22 in the Western Region.

The cocoa farmer with a bag of cocoa during former President John Mahama’s era could buy 22 bags of cement, under President Nana Addo’s government, the same farmer with the same bag of cocoa can buy only 13 bags indicating a loss of 9 bags of cement, he stated.

The FOB price of $2300 secured for the 2019/20 crop year is higher than the2018/19 price of $2200, and even the argument that the world market price has declined making an upward review of farm gate price impossible has lost its potency in the face of galloping exchange rate.

“To demonstrate this point, we wish to compare cocoa inflows in 2016/17 and 2019/20, we should be mindful of the fact that Ghana through forward sales has sold the 2019/20 produce though we are yet to harvest. 2016/17 FOB price+Premium $2950 (Per tone which is 16 bags).   At $1 to GHc 3.9 Value in GHs11, 505, 2019/20 FOB price-Premium   $2300 (Per tone which is 16 bags), at $ 1to GHc 5.3 Value in GHc 12,190. The above illustration clearly establishes the point that the NPP government is raking in more revenue from cocoa than we did”.

The statement also disclosed that had government added the premium receipts to FOB price of cocoa, the farm gate price of a bag of cocoa as at today would have been not less than GHc 800. We must not forget that President Rawlings exited office with a producer price of cocoa of GHc 20.17 per a bag of 64 kilos.

President John Agyekum Kuffor left the seat of government with a per bag price of ghc102 indicating that for the entire 8 years of President Kuffor, GHc 80.03 was added to the price.

Again, President John Atta Mills exited when the farm gate price was GHc 212 .This means that in 4 years president Mills added GHc 110 to the price of a bag of cocoa.

Former President Mahama left office with a per bag farm gate price of ghc475 indicating an increase of GHc263 over his 4 year period.

President Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo has been in office for 3 years and our sources from COCOBOD states that the president will on 1st October 2019 announce a new farm gate price of GHc500.This would mean that President Akuffo Addo will add GHc25 to the price for the period of 3 years.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com