Gov’t ‘cheating’ cocoa farmers for maintaining producer price – Minority
The Minority in Parliament has chastised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for maintaining the producer price of cocoa for farmers across the country.
The group has accused the government of failing cocoa farmers who contribute so much to the economy by choosing “an unrealistic exchange rate” for the farmers.
Government has kept the price of cocoa unchanged for yet another season.
This means the industry regulator will buy a tonne of cocoa beans for GH¢7,600 from cocoa farmers for the 2018/2019 crop year; same as it did for the just ended crop season.
But addressing a press conference at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region on Wednesday, the Minority spokesperson on agriculture, Eric Opoku, said the government has not treated cocoa farmers well.
“We wish to indicate that the reasons assigned for the maintenance of the producer price is highly unacceptable. The NPP government used an unrealistic exchange rate of Ghc 4.54 which is lower than the bank of Ghana rate. The use of a lower exchange rate resulted in a lower rate, hence a lower price.”
“Using the BoG rate of Ghc4.80 would have increased the Producer Price Index of cocoa. We are therefore urging the NPP government to explain why they opted for a lower exchange rate after a failed attempt to arrest the cedi”, the MP for Asunafo South added.
The Minority therefore wants the government to increase the producer price of cocoa immediately.
Minority claims baseless
Meanwhile, a manager in Charge of the Ghana Cocoa Board CEO’s office, Fiifi Boafo, has refuted the claims by the Minority.
According to him, the data used by the Minority is old, hence should be disregarded.
“The Minority has done something which ordinarily shouldn’t have happened. They have used figures which they shouldn’t have as Members of Parliament who have the right to seek for clarity. They should have asked for answers or clarity of the issue, but they rather decided to hold a rally and present those figures, twist it to mean something different from what it is.”
“So the minority is making reference to figures we submitted to Parliament at the time we were putting those documents together. At that time, we used the exchange rate per the Bank of Ghana figures”, he stressed.
When asked if the depreciation of the Ghana cedi has contributed to the current situation, he answered in the negative, arguing that there is a justification as a result of the world market prices for cocoa.
Reduction of cocoa prices
The government maintained the producer price of cocoa for the 2018/2019 cocoa season at GH¢7,600 per tonne, translating into GH¢475 per bag of 64 kilogramme (kg) gross weight.
The price takes effect from today, with the new season expected to commence on Friday.
This was announced by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, at the 2018 Cocoa Day Grand Durbar in Accra.
He said the decline in the price of the commodity on the international market, which had forced all the other 21 producing countries to slash their producer prices, made it impossible for the government to review the producer price upwards.
Cocoa price on the international market in recent times has reduced from US$3,300 per tonne to US$2,100, representing a decline of about 40 per cent.