The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has called for honest discussions on the cocoa sector to help maintain the image of the sector and sustain the confidence of farmers in the business.
The Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Fiifi Boafo, told the Daily Graphic that the sensitive nature of the sector required that discussions on cocoa and its value chain were based on facts and not sentiments.
Mr Boafo was responding to recent comments on the producer price of cocoa by Citizen Watch, a local think tank.
The think tank had issued a statement last week in which it called on the board and the government to increase the producer price to GH¢9,000 per tonne in the 2019/20 cocoa season.
Citizen Watch had said that COCOBOD’s intended price of GH¢8,000 per tonne in the next cocoa season was inadequate.
Responding to the concerns, Mr Boafo said the reports that COCOBOD intended to increase the price to GH¢8,000 per tonne were inaccurate and premature.
Beyond these, he said, the think tank’s comments on the foreign exchange rate, the prevailing price of cocoa in the global market and the living income differential were inaccurate and had the tendencies of putting the cocoa sector in bad light.
“The exchange rate figure quoted is not that of Bank of Ghana and that is the only source of exchange rate that can be used to determine the price.
“Also, the suggestion on the world market price is not accurate.
“The price was US$2059 as of the close of Wednesday, August 21 and not the US$2,600 quoted by the group,” Mr Boafo told the Daily Graphic.
Living income differential
He explained that COCOBOD was hoping to use the proposed Living Income Differential (LID), which was introduced in June, “to help to push the price to US$2,600”.
He added that the LID would also take effect from the 2020/2021 crop season contrary to the impression that it had kicked in from the 2019/20 season.
“So, it cannot be the basis for any calculation this year,” he said.
He explained that in determining the producer price to be paid in a cocoa season, the Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC) took into consideration the average price for the year and not just the global price of the crop.
“We are concerned about the wellbeing of farmers and will want the input of all stakeholders but it must be grounded on facts,” he said.
Beyond that, Mr Boafo said, the board was upbeat about providing farmers with good things, noting that the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, had already given a glimpse of what should be expected.
Mr Aidoo is said to have told a rally of cocoa farmers and chiefs at Antoakrom in the Ashanti Region that “there are very good days ahead.”
“You will hear some good news this year and even better news next year.
“Prepare yourselves because the prices which are coming next year have not been heard of before,” he is reported to have said.
He thus encouraged the farmers to commit to good practices on their farms to help increase their outputs.
“Although the new trading mechanism jointly negotiated by Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire will be the price at which the two countries will sell their cocoa to international buyers from the 2020/2021 season, you should expect good news in terms of pricing for the 2019/2020 season,” he said.
Source: Graphic Online