The chief executive officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has said it is erroneous for the former president John Dramani Mahama to use the current international market price of cocoa – US$3,600 per tonne – as the basis for calculating the producer price for the commodity.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced a 63.6% increase in the producer price of cocoa from GHC12,800 per metric tonne (GHC800 per bag) to GHC20,943 per metric tonne on Saturday (9 September).
Consequently, for the 2023/24 season, farmers will be paid GHC1,308.99 for every 64-kilogram bag of beans sold to licensed buying companies.
However, Mahama described the latest increment in the producer price as a government ploy to rip off Ghana’s farmers.
“The government’s just-announced increase in the farmgate price of cocoa is a rip-off of our hard-working cocoa farmers and their families who continue to sustain our economy through their toil,” Mahama wrote on Facebook.
“With the international market price surging to a 46-year record high of $3,600, the government should have given our cocoa farmers their fair share of the international FOB price. Sadly, the government has chosen to give them a paltry GHC1,308 per bag, constituting only 52.7% of the FOB price of the product on the international market.
“This is unfair to our cocoa farmers, who have been worse off since the NPP took over the reins of government in 2017.
“In 2016, my government, in addition to the free fertiliser and free cocoa seedlings programme, gave cocoa farmers 66.06% of the FOB price of cocoa. This NPP administration should have built on this foundation. They have rather increased the operational expenses of COCOBOD and reduced the international FOB share for the farmers. Cocoa farmers certainly deserve better,” Mahama wrote.
But in an open letter to the flagbearer of the opposition NDC, Boahen Aidoo said: “You [Mahama] are fully aware that Ghana’s cocoa beans [are] mostly sold forward. This means that the 2023/24 crop was sold between October 2022 and March 2023 at international prices, ranging between US$2,200 per tonne and US$2,400 per tonne.
“The international price of cocoa then began to increase in April 2023, when a greater percentage of the 2023/24 crop had already been sold.”