Ghana’s gallant cocoa farmers have been expecting some increment in the cocoa producer prices in this years’s main crop season in October, when the new farmgate prices are fixed for the 2019-2020 crop year.
The farmers also believe that, at least, there should be a 5.1 percent increment in Cocoa prices to an average of US$2,370.4 per tonne. Meanwhile, government has decided not to reduce nor increase the producer price.
However, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, COCOBOD CEO, disclosed in a statement in June this year that, returns on the declared purchases would be accepted up to 1600 hours, on June 6, 2019, in order to assist the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) to obtain the final returns from up-country centres.
It is therefore incumbent government maintains the price of cocoa at GHc7,600 per tonne for the 2018/2019 crop year, as that of the the 2016/2017 cocoa season.
On the backdrop of this, SEND-GHANA, in partnership with INKOTA netzwerk and Rainforest Alliance on Friday 7th June, 2019, launched a report on Assessing Farmgate Pricing and Income of Cocoa Farmers, in Accra.
The report encompasses analytical study of farmers’ perceptions on cocoa producer prices, cocoa farmers welfare and income diversification activities in Ghana, comprising 220 farmers in the Agona East District.
It was also meant to access the impact of Ghana COCOBOD’s mass spraying and fertilizer distribution programmes on welfare of cocoa farmers, to investigate the economic welfare of cocoa farmers and to establish the factors influencing income diversification activities of cocoa farmers, particularly through off farm income resources.
Presenting the report, Prof. Kwabena Asomanin Anaman, Professor of Economics at the University of Ghana and the lead researcher of the report, disclosed that, there is the need for government to consider raising the price of cocoa by a reasonable amount to meet the expectations of cocoa farmers across the country.
He indicated that, cocoa farmers plays little or no role at all in the determination and setting of local cocoa producer prices.
According to the study, COCOBOD should consider expanding the number of farmer representatives over a period of time before the announcement of official local cocoa prices during the first week of October every year.
According to a research conducted in July and August 2018, the two most important actors in the cocoa pricing, COCOBOD and the Government of Ghana, including the local cocoa purchasing clerks are not trusted by farmers with respect to transparency in the pricing.
Prof. Anaman further indicated that, female cocoa farmers were almost excluded from the mass spraying exercise than other cocoa farmers, who were mostly richer and better resourced.
The analysis again suggested that, increasing formal educational attainment of farmers helped to increase income diversity and better livelihood for such farmers.
However, he suggested that, the COCOBOD should strengthen its public education on the process involved in the determination of local cocoa producer prices, the mass spraying and fertilizer distribution programmes, and as well as ensure equal distribution of resources and services for all cocoa farmers, and increase quality and quantity of services together with its related agencies.
In her address, Mrs. Evelyn Bahn, Senior Project Manager of INKOTA netzwerk, noted that, the current world market of cocoa price, which had fallen by 30 per cent since 2016, brought the sudden increase in the price of the cash crop. However, the producer price of cocoa became a crucial factor to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
She underscored the need for the European chocolate industries together with the government, to see it as a collective responsibility and play their respective roles to ensure that cocoa farmers receives a fair price for their produce.
She added that, farmer are to be empowered in order to achieve a resilient and sustainable cocoa sector. Mrs. Bahn, further stressed on the need for a concerted effort to implement the recommendations by the study.
The Country Director of SEND-GHANA, Mr. George Osei-Bimpeh, emphasized that, farming must be considered as a decent job to help eradicate the immersed problem of unemployment facing the country.
Adding that, “There are many job opportunities in the agriculture sector and this can be improved through our collective efforts as partners.”