When the world market price of cocoa sees an increase, it is expected that the cocoa farmer feels the positive impact as a major stakeholder in the cocoa production value chain, Ranking Member on Parliament’s Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee, Eric Opoku, has noted.
Commenting on the producer price of cocoa, Mr. Opoku challenged COCOBOD to take steps that ensure the 7 percent increase in world market price of cocoa benefits cocoa farmers in the country.
“This year, COCOBOD is telling us that the world market price has gone up from US$2,515 last year to US$2,600 – a 7 percent increase. But last year the exchange rates used was GH¢6.6 to US$1.00. Today, they are using GH¢7.5. COCOBOD is making so much money but they are proposing that the producer price is not going to be increased, and they want to maintain the same price for cocoa farmers.
“If the price is going up in the world market, the cocoa farmer must be the first beneficiary. But the situation is that they don’t want the money to go to the farmers, they want the money to stay in the office. You must know that cocoa is not grown in the office,” he stated.
This, among other steps he indicated, will ensure sustainability of the cocoa sector as a major contributor to the economy.
The Member of Parliament was debating a report of the Finance Committee prior to the approval of a US$1.3billion loan agreement for COCOBOD to purchase cocoa beans for the 2022/2023 crop season.
The call to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmer was also recently backed by the Regional Director for Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Kwadwo Gyamfi, who said that there is an urgent need to explore mechanisms which bring in more money for cocoa farmers, instead of solely focusing on productivity in the effort to tackle the living income gap.
Mr. Gyamfi was speaking on the sidelines of the closing ceremony for the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP II) of Solidaridad West Africa, and indicated that to ensure sustainability of the cocoa sector, high productivity and good pricing among other reforms should be considered.
“These are areas that we need to discuss very seriously, and look at innovative ways of addressing them going into the future,” he said.
These concerns come at a time cocoa-producing countries continue seeking grounds to deepen farmer-productivity in a bid to improve the living income situation of cocoa farmers, amid rising global concerns over farmers’ well-being and cocoa sustainability.
Meanwhile, Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin maintained government is doing the best it can to sustain the industry by giving adequate support to farmers in the country, something that he stressed is not being practiced in other cocoa-producing countries.
“It must be emphasised Ghana is the only country that provides inputs and supplies extension services to cocoa farmers. It is never done in Cote d’Ivoire. It is only in Ghana that we have the regulator, COCOBOD, providing incentives to farmers.”