Government has announced a new producer price of cocoa for the 2019/2020 crop season from GH¢7,640 to GH¢8,240 per tonne.
The increment represents 8.42 per cent meaning that a bag (64kg) of cocoa beans would now be sold at GH¢515. Previously, a bag of cocoa was sold at GH¢475.
The Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, Dr Gyiele Nurah, who represented President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made the announcement at a durbar of chiefs and farmers in Sunyani yesterday.
Dr Nurah noted that despite falling price of cocoa at the world market, government deem it fit to announce the new price to cushion farmers.
He said, “Despite government inheriting a cocoa sector which was virtually on its knees, it has made significant strides to restore the sector back to its glory past.”
Dr Nurah stated that government would engage about 1,343 agriculture extension agents to offer extension services to cocoa farmers to boost production.
He advised farmers to join registered cooperatives so as to benefit interventions by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) such as distribution of fertilizer, and hybrid seedlings.
The Minister therefore urged the youth to take advantage of the numerous intervention in the cocoa sector to better their fortunes.
The CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said to help improve cocoa farming, government has imported 100,000 motorised slashers to be given to farmers at subsidised price.
The move, he said, was to discourage the use of weedicides and other uncertified chemicals to control weeds.
The COCOOD he noted, was in the process of introducing electronic weighing scales to check “cheating” of farmers by purchasing clerks of Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), adding that any LBC that will fail to comply with the new directive would not be allowed to purchase cocoa beans.
Mr Aidoo assured farmers that with the floor price which is expected to take effect in the 2020/2021 crop season, farmers would receive their fair share from the sale of cocoa.
The Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, said in the next farming season, smallholder farmers would be encouraged to expand their farms into cocoa plantations.
There were mixed reactions from the farmers after the announcement of the new cocoa price. A farmer, Margret Acheamponmaa said although she was expecting a higher price, she would accept the new price, hoping for better future as per the government’s promise.
Kwame Boateng, a farmer from the Ahafo area expressed disappointment with the new price, saying that looking at the long period that farmers had not enjoyed price increment, government could have considered that.
FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, SUNYANI