The 2017 National Best Farmer has said the government’s inability to increase the producer price of cocoa in the country will burden the already hardships on cocoa farmers.
Mr. Philip Kwaku Agyeman said “we are not happy because it has been two years and the price of cocoa is the same which means cocoa farmers in Ghana will continue to suffer”.
Ghana is the world’s second cocoa grower, yet it maintained the guaranteed price to farmers at GHS7, 600 per tonne for the 2018/2019 main crop season.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie Akoto made the announcement whiles addressing cocoa farmers and other stakeholders in the cocoa industry at the 2018 Cocoa Day event in Accra.
“The 2018/19 cocoa season which starts on Friday, October 5, has been officially announced. The government in consultation with stakeholders has decided to maintain the producer price for cocoa at GHS7, 600 per tonne or GHS475 per bag of 64 Kilograms (KG)”, the Minister stated.
Reacting to the announcement in an interview with PrimeNewsGhana on Tuesday, the 2017 National Best Farmer said prices of goods and services have gone up for the past two years so there was the need for the government to increase cocoa price.
Mr. Agyeman argued that children of cocoa farmers attend the same schools as children of other professionals so the government should have factored all these in mind and increase cocoa price.
“It will discourage farmers and those who are planning of going into farming will not venture”, he added.
The Best Farmer said “it will bring hardship in the country because there are large numbers of farmers who are into cocoa cultivation so that will mean they will not be happy as cocoa farmers”.
“We are disappointed about the price and it may discourage cocoa farmers. Cocoa farmers are poor yet they support the economy greatly”, he explained.
Effect on cocoa production
Mr. Agyeman noted that “the price will reduce cocoa production in the country because many people will not be enthused to enter into cocoa cultivation”.
He added that smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring countries will increase because farmers believe they could have better prices there.
Mr. Agyeman appeal to those who smuggle cocoa to stop.
He also appeal to the government help them have easy access to loans from banks.