Ghana will not reduce its volume of cocoa production despite the lowerer prices on the world stage, Chief Executive (CE) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) assured on Monday.
Addressing the National Cocoa Day celebration, Joseph Boahen Aidoo said although the falling prices were due to higher yields, calls for production cuts should not apply to Ghana, where yields per hectare are far lower than the global average.
“While other countries realize a yield of 2,000 kg per hectare, in Ghana it is 450 kg per hectare. And it is even worse in the Western Region where the yield is sometimes below 450 kg per hectare,” the CE pointed out.
To curb the impact of falling prices, Boahen Aidoo urged Ghanaians to patronize cocoa by consuming more cocoa products, which he described as health boosters.
The country is set to delay the start of the new cocoa season for at least two weeks, to await the disbursement of the first tranche of the 1.3 billion U.S. dollar syndicated loan secured last month, which will be used in the purchases from farmers.
The season which normally opens at the beginning of October would now commence in the middle of the month due to cash shortages.
Cocoa prices have fallen from the 3,000 dollar mark at the start of the 2016/2017 season, to below 2,000 dollars before the close of the season, compelling the government of Cote d’Ivoire to slash the producer price.
“We are suffering from the paradox of higher production but less returns … But we as a board shall do everything possible to ensure that our cocoa farmers do not suffer from the effects of the falling cocoa prices on the world stage,” Chairman of the Governing Board of COCOBOD Hackman Owusu-Agyeman assured Ghanaian cocoa farmers at the event.
He said the regulatory body would continue to mobilize and encourage farmers to produce more cocoa in order to sustain the cocoa economy.
“The cocoa industry will rise again,” he insisted, adding that the COCOBOD would continue to introduce innovative incentives for cocoa farmers to ensure that more people, especially the youth, find cocoa farming a lucrative venture.
Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa producer, after its western neighbor Cote d’Ivoire, with the 2016/2017 production already crossing the 900,000 tonnees, according to data from the regulator. Enditem