Tuesday, 28 May

‘It’s a rip-off!’ – Minority says cocoa farmers deserve ¢130k not ¢33k per tonne

Business
The government raised the farm-gate price by 58.26% to GH¢33,120 per tonne for the 2023/2024 crop season, effective April 5, 2024

The newly announced farm-gate price for cocoa “is the lowest” compared to the recent price surge on the international market, Ghana’s minority caucus has said.

The government raised the farm-gate price by 58.26% to GH¢33,120 per tonne for the 2023/2024 crop season, effective April 5, 2024. 

The decision aims to distribute profits from escalating global prices and combat bean smuggling. 

Cocoa prices have surged more than threefold in the past year due to disease and adverse weather in Ghana and neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire, leading to a third consecutive global market deficit. 

Currently, Ghana's state-guaranteed cocoa price stands at GH¢20,943 cedi ($1,574.66) per tonne or approximately GH¢21 per kilogramme. 

In a related development, Côte d'Ivoire recently raised its farmgate price for the April-to-September mid-crop of the 2023/24 season to 1,500 CFA francs ($2.47, or about GH¢33) per kilogramme, up from 1,000 CFA francs last season.

Reacting to the new price, the minority caucus, in a statement signed by Mr Eric Opoku, the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture & Cocoa Affairs, said the increase in the international market price for cocoa translates into GH¢8,125 per bag of cocoa.

However, the caucus said: “It is sad to note that the newly announced producer price of GH¢33,120 per tonne, which translates into GH¢2,070 per bag, constitutes a paltry 25.47% of the world market price of cocoa”.

Once again, the caucus noted, “We wish to reiterate that this is a rip-off of our hard-working cocoa farmers, as it constitutes the lowest percentage of the international market price of cocoa ever given to Ghanaian cocoa farmers as a farm-gate price in the history of this country”.

In its view, Ghanaian cocoa farmers should be earning GH¢8,125 per bag of cocoa with the new price surge on the international market.

Read the caucus’ full statement below:

RE: REVIEW OF THE PRODUCER PRICE OF COCOA FOR THE 2023/24 COCOA SEASON

On Tuesday, 2nd April 2024, the Minority in Parliament issued a press statement demanding an immediate increase in the producer price of cocoa to ameliorate the plight of Ghanaian cocoa farmers.

This demand was predicated on the recent surge in the world market price of cocoa to an all-time high of an average US$10,000 per tonne, which is equivalent to GH¢130,000, at a conservative exchange rate of US$1 to GH¢13.

This amount translates into GH¢8,125 per bag of cocoa on the international market.

It is sad to note that the newly announced producer price of GH¢33,120 per tonne, which translates into GH¢2,070 per bag, constitutes a paltry 25.47% of the world market price of cocoa.

Once again, we wish to reiterate that this is a rip-off of our hard-working cocoa farmers, as it constitutes the lowest percentage of the international market price of cocoa ever given to Ghanaian cocoa farmers as a farm-gate price in the history of this country.

The current increase in the producer price of cocoa, which constitutes a trifling 25.47% of the international market price, contradicts an earlier pledge by President Akufo-Addo to give Ghanaian cocoa farmers a farm-gate price constituting a minimum of 70% of the international market price.

The Minority is appalled by the continuous swindling of Ghanaian cocoa farmers by the insensitive and corrupt Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government.

Never in the history of our country has any government short-changed our gallant cocoa farmers this way.

At a time when our national cocoa output has sharply declined from 969,000mt in 2016 to a paltry 450,000mt in 2024, the least expected of the AkufoAddo/Bawumia government is to give our already-impoverished cocoa farmers a fair increment in the farm-gate price of cocoa to compensate for the huge losses they have recorded in their incomes.

We hold the view that any increase in the farm-gate price of cocoa below 60% of the prevailing international market price is a monumental rip-off of our suffering cocoa farmers.

In other words, any increment in the farm-gate price of cocoa below GH¢5,000 per bag is grossly unfair and unacceptable.

The Minority wishes to serve notice that we shall haul the Minister for Agriculture before Parliament to answer for this broad daylight robbery perpetrated against our gallant cocoa farmers.

In the coming days, the Minority shall hold a series of engagements with cocoa farmers and other industry players on the way forward for Ghana’s dying cocoa industry.

SIGNED.

ERIC OPOKU (MP)

(Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agric & Cocoa Affairs and Member of Parliament for Asunafo South)

Source: Classfmonline.com