Friday, 29 September

Price of a cocoa bag should have been increased by not less than GH¢2,500 - Minority

Dr Cassiel Ato Forson

Members of the Minority in Parliament have expressed their dissatisfaction with the government's recent announcement of cocoa prices, arguing that the increase should have been much higher.

They accuse President Akufo-Addo and his appointees of engaging in what they call "gross propaganda" surrounding the cocoa price announcement.

President Akufo-Addo had recently announced a 60% hike in cocoa prices for the upcoming cocoa season, amounting to GH¢1,308 per cocoa bag.

Speaking at an event in Tepa on September 9, the President acknowledged the challenges faced by cocoa farmers due to low international cocoa prices, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these difficulties, he mentioned that COCOBOD and the government had decided to raise the producer price of cocoa. The President explained that cocoa prices had increased from GH¢7,600 per tonne in 2016 to GH¢12,800 per tonne in 2022, marking a substantial 68% increase.

He further stated that the government had raised cocoa prices from GH¢12,800 per tonne to GH¢20,943 per tonne, equivalent to GH¢1,308 per bag. This new price represented 70.5% of the Gross FoB price and amounted to $1,821 per tonne. President Akufo-Addo also highlighted that this was the highest price paid to cocoa farmers in West Africa in approximately 50 years.

However, addressing a gathering of farmers in the Ahafo Region, Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson argued that farmers should have received at least GH¢2,500 per cocoa bag, considering the high price of cocoa on the international market.

He contended that the price of cocoa had experienced its most significant rise since 1977 and accused the government of taking advantage of cocoa farmers.

"In fact, from 2013 to 2016, I supervised the increase in cocoa prices. The truth is one and indisputable. Two factors influence the increase in cocoa prices: the strength of the Cedi and the price of cocoa on the international market. As a country, we both import and export goods," said the Ajumako Enyan Essiam MP.

"So when we import goods and the Cedi is weak, prices go up, just as when we export goods, we should make a profit. Currently, cocoa prices have seen the most substantial increment since 1977, so it is your season to make a profit. If the NDC were in government, we would have set the price of a cocoa bag at GH¢2,500 and added a premium of GH¢300. So you would have received GH¢2,800 per bag," he added.

Meanwhile, Minority Spokesperson on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, Eric Opoku, dismissed the NPP government's claims of doing something extraordinary, arguing that the cocoa price on the international market had reached a record high. He touted the NDC's record in dealing with cocoa farmers as superior.

Source: Mensah