Hold Press Conference In Goaso Today
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, claim that the World Market price of the commodity, has not increased is turning out to be false, as persons familiar with market trend, have revealed that government should paid more to the cocoa farmers than what it announced on Monday.
According to insiders, the current FOB price of cocoa per tonne in the World market is quoted at $2,200, representing a significant increase of 6 percent from the previous price of $2080 per ton.
By this calculation, The Herald is informed that the Akufo-Addo government should not be paying cocoa farmers GH¢ 475 for the 2017/2018 crop season, but rather GH¢ 563.68; an upward adjustment of the producer price by GH¢ 88.68.
Members of Parliament on the Minority side are holding a press conference on the producer price at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region, later today. Goaso is the capital of Asunafo North municipal; it’s a massive cocoa growing community in the region.
It was explained that, the Akufo-Addo government is displaying gross insensitivity towards cocoa farmers by adopting the current producer price determination formula.
The current formula is said to have omitted “premium” in the determination of the producer price for the 2018/19 cocoa crop season.
Failure by the government to add the premium in paying the farmers for the toil and sweat in the 2018/2019 crop season, has been described as suspicious, and Akufo-Addo government must account for the premium payment.
It was also revealed that the syndicated loan contracted for the purchase of cocoa for the 2018/19 crop season is $1.3 billion.
In the formula for the determination of the producer price, the NPP government, used a dollar/cedi ($/¢) exchange rate of 4.54, which is lower than the Bank of Ghana official rate of 4.8p.
The use of the lower exchange rate, resulted in a lower total FOB amount in terms of value, hence a lower producer price. Using the official Bank of Ghana rate of 4.8, would have increased the FOB amount in terms of total value by GH¢ 514,800,000.
This increase in value, would have pushed up the producer price of cocoa by GH¢ 35.75, given the projected output of 900,000MT. All other things being equal, using a realistic exchange rate alone, could have increased the producer price of cocoa to GH¢ 510.57 from the announced GH¢ 475.
Mr Boahen Aidoo, on Monday tried without success to convince cocoa farmers, why the government was unable to increase cocoa price for the 2018/2019 season.
COCOBOD,government announced would buy a tonne of cocoa beans for GH¢7,600 for the crop year, but the cocoa farmers, who had traveled from the Western and Eastern Regions to listen to the announcement of thisyear’s cocoa producer price and participate in the annual Cocoa Day programme on Monday in Accra, were unhappy.
The farmers, had their expectations dashed, because the government was unable to increase price of cocoa for the second consecutive time due to factors it claimed, was beyond its control.
Mr Boahen Aidoo, explained the decision to maintain the current price was as a result of the dwindling world prices of the commodity over the past years.
He said, price of cocoa on the world market has declined to USD1, 750 per tonne, coupled with massive domestic expenses in the distribution chain.
According to the CEO, the Akufo-Addo government was maintaining the price atGH¢475 per bag or GH¢7,600 per tonne, though other cocoa producing nations keep reducing their prices to correspond with the world price, because it does not want to worsen the plight of farmers.
The COCOBOD CEO, said Ghana has lost UDS2billion from the declining cocoa price at the world market.
He said, despite the challenges, government is implementing several policies and programmes to enhance cocoa production and also cushion farmers.
He mentioned some of these policies as the free distribution of cocoa seedlings, hand pollination, mass cocoa spraying exercise, subsidized fertilizer among others expenses.