The concerned cocoa farmers from the different parts of the Western North Region led by Mr.Usman Yakubu, the 2017 National Best Cocoa Farmer have extended their candid appreciation to the President of the Republic of Ghana H.E Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo not only because of the increase they have witnessed in the Producer Price of Cocoa despite the decreases in the prices on the international commodity market but also because of his much anticipated $100 million Cocoa Processing Factory to be built in Sefwi Wiawso, the regional capital.
Addressing the press, Mr.Usman Yakubu revealed that, before the 2017/2018 crop season, farmers were paid 70% of the Net Free on-Board (FoB) Price. Currently, the government through the Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC), is paying 75% of net FoB price to the cocoa farmers.
He further explain that, they hailing the government not only for increasing the percentage (75%) paid to the farmers but for also increasing the 2019/2020 producer price by more than 8% when conditions on the international market proved other. ‘’We want to thank the current National Best Farmer and the rest of PPRC members for recognising the need to improve upon the standard of living Cocoa Farmers through increasing the producer price.
It is worthy to note that farmers in the Ghana receive the highest FOB price in the sub-region.
He said, the International price of cocoa on the commodity market has witnessed some unprecedented decrease from $2950 per ton in 2015, it is now sold at $2300 per ton. Therefore, for a government to increase the price of a bag of cocoa from GHS 475 to GHS 515 despite the decrease in the international market, means the government deserves nothing but commendation.
He cautioned Ghanaians also not to forget that, at the time Ivory Coast was forced to slash the price of cocoa as a result of a decrease in the price of cocoa at the world market, Ghana under the able leadership of Nana Addo still maintained the GHS 475 per bag.
They use the opportunity to thank the government and the Ghana cocoa board for the numerous intervention and flagship which has been introduced to boost cocoa production.
In anticipation of the World Market Price volatility and mindful of the plight of the farmer, COCOBOD has put in place productivity improvement schemes such as Cocoa Mass Spraying Exercise, Fertilizer subsidy, Hand Pollination, rehabilitation and compensation to farmers who have had their cocoa trees cut down as a result of swollen shoot diseases, pruning of affected cocoa trees, free distribution of cocoa seedlings aimed at improving the current 450kg/ha to a minimum of 1500kg/g and also huge relief for cocoa farmers.
According to them, In July this year, the president announced the establishment of a $100million cocoa processing factory. The relation that, the Paramount of Sefwi Wiawso has graciously given a vast land to aid the government in this regards and work is progressing in this regard and we as farmers in the region and know the full benefit of the factory will like to express their gratitude to government and the Cocoa Board for recognising the contributions of the Western North Region as the third-highest cocoa producing region in the country.
Like Oliver Twist, we ask for more to be done. They also encourage the Ghana Cocoa Board to increase its hi-tech chemicals. They also encourage the government to do more in climbing down on illegal activities such as smuggling of cocoa farm inputs into neighbouring countries.
Story By: Daniel Akwasi Nuako.