President Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaian cocoa farmers that the government will maintain the current Producer Price for cocoa purchased from them during the 2017/2018 crop season, despite the more than 40 percent drop in the world market price for the commodity.
Addressing the 2017 National Cocoa Day Rally and 70th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Ghana Cocoa Board, in Kumasi, the president said a lot more measures were being put in place to better the lots of cocoa farmers.
World market price for cocoa which were around US$3000 at the beginning of the 2016/2017 season have fallen to below US$2000, with a lot of expectations that Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire who between them account for 60 percent of total global output would slash their farm-gate prices.
“Indeed, government will make sure that producer prices paid to Ghanaian cocoa farmers remain unchanged, and will be in sync with those of Ivorian farmers. Government is also working on the cocoa pension scheme for cocoa farmers, the first of its kind in our history,” President Akufo-Addo announced.
The country pays 7, 600 Ghana cedis or 1741.51 dollars to local farmers per tone of cocoa purchased.
He expressed hope; “This will not only benefit cocoa farmers, but all involved in the cocoa value chain explaining that the decision was to ensure farmers were not short-changed in any price review.
The president said he had been holding discussions with his Ivoirian counterpart, Alassane Ouattara, since assuming office, to provide the necessary leadership for technical and political co-operation that addresses effectively the international cocoa price decline in the short-to-medium term.
“We are fashioning out far reaching policies towards achieving a shared vision of an industrialized and prosperous domestic cocoa economy. This, I am sure, will reduce our vulnerability to the volatility of the markets, and help deliver prosperity to our farmers and peoples,” he added.
To strengthen export earnings from cocoa, again, Akufo-Addo said he had directed the Minister for Food and Agriculture and the COCOBOD to work towards increasing domestic processing of cocoa up from the current levels to a minimum of 50 percent of annual production by 2020.
He added: This will significantly increase export revenues and foreign exchange earnings from cocoa. Processing of cocoa must also go beyond just grinding of the beans, to tertiary manufacturing for table consumption. Chocolate and cocoa products from Ghana should be accessible anywhere on the globe.”
The importance of cocoa in Ghana’s economy made the government establish the Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) in 1947 which was later transformed into COCOBOD as the main agency of state responsible for development of the industry.
The king of Ashanti Otumfuor Osei Tutu II who chaired the celebration was named by COCOBOD as its Cocoa Ambassador.
The revered traditional ruler invited all Ghanaians to join hands to work and ensure that the country received its fair share of proceeds from the cocoa industry.