COCOBOD maintains producer price of cocoa for 2018/2019 seasons

GOVERNMENT, through the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has maintained the producer price of cocoa at GH¢7, 600 per tonne for the 2018/2019 cocoa season.

This translates into GH¢475 per a 64 kilogramme bag, a price the cocoa farmers said was inadequate considering the prevailing economic conditions in the country.

At the climax of this year’s Cocoa Day in Accra yesterday where the price was announced ahead of the opening of the new cocoa season on October 5, the Chief Executive Officer of the COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo said the constant decline of cocoa price on the international market has made it difficult for the price to be increased.

The day, which brought together industry players including farmers, transporters and cocoa buying companies, was on the theme “Cocoa Consumption: Business and Health.”

According to Mr Aidoo, when the New Patriotic Party government took over the reigns of political power, the price of the commodity had fallen from US$2,800 to the current price of US$1700 per tonne.

In order to mitigate the effect of the non-increment of the price, Mr Aidoo said the COCOBOD was putting in place crop enhancement mechanisms to increase the yield of farmers.

Some of the interventions, he said, include hand pollination, irrigation, and pruning among others on a mass scale at the cost of the state to increase their yields.

These interventions, he observed, were already yielding the needed results as in some cases, farmers could harvest about 15 bags per acre as against three in the past.

Mr Aidoo said government was putting in place measures to increase the country’s cocoa consumption from the current 0.5 kilogrammes per capita as it targets to utilise 50 per cent of the commodity locally to feed industries to create jobs.

The Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, on his part said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Add- led government was concerned about the welfare of the cocoa farmer but could not do anything about the price.

He said almost all cocoa producing countries had reduced the producer price for their farmers but the Ghanaian authorities maintained theirs.

Dr Akoto said the government was still committed to the course of the cocoa farmer and would not renege on its obligation to better their lot.

President of the Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association, Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, in a speech read on his behalf urged government to endeavour to whip up the interest of cocoa farming in the youth to ensure a sustained cocoa sector.

In his view, the cocoa sector remained critical to the economy of Ghana as he called for concerted efforts to tackle the galamsey menace which he said was affecting cocoa production.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI                                                               

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