Some cocoa farmers in the Western Region in a rather sharp turn have kicked against the recent increase in the producer price of cocoa announced by the government, describing it as a slap in the face and cheating tactics deployed by COCOBOD and government. They say it will be in the interest of COCOBOD and government to increase the price to GH 517 to check the increasing rate of smuggling of the commodity to Ivory Coast or suffer the consequences.
The coordinator for the Forum for Accountability and Development of Sefwi, Harry Addo explained that “the price per ton of the commodity on the international market stands at some $3,192 and so they have expected an increment from the previous GHc 345 to at least GHc517”. Mr. Addo who believes “the government is short-changing them” described the GHc75 increment “as a slap in this face of the farmers in view of how prices of farm inputs are increased on the market”. He said “the GHc75 increment announced for the 2015/2016 crop season doesn’t reflect the price of the commodity on the international market. It should be increased from the current GHc420 to GHc517 because it is stated in the NDC’s manifesto to give over 75 percent of the FOB price to the farmers. When you do the math with the current FOB price to what it was announced, the government is giving below 70 percent”. He lamented.
Mr. Addo who is of the view that the farmers must survive despite the harsh treatment meted out to the farmers by government alleged that due to the low price of the commodity in Ghana “many people are smuggling thousands of bags of cocoa to neighboring Ivory Coast. He says, COCOBOD’s claim that Ghana is not able to meet projected production due to decline in production is untrue stating that “ when you come to towns closer to Ivory Coast such as Enchi, Dadieso and Elubo, thousands and thousands of the cocoa beans are smuggled to Ivory Coast because the Ivorian government is paying far more for the beans than what is offered in Ghana”. He further warned that “if the Ghanaian government do not consider the interest of the state and the long term benefit of doing the right thing now but continues to tow this path of shortchanging the farmers all the time, the expectation that the 1 million metric ton feat which was attained in 2011 will be replicated in the next crop season will be a fallacy”. “…which is why we are saying that the government has to bridge the gap between Ghana and Ivory Coast by increasing the price it is offering above the GH420 to GH 517 to check smuggling”. Harry Addo opined.
Source – Citifm