Cocoa has been the main index of Ghana’s prosperity. Interest in the cocoa industry has, however, not been as high as expected, due to the very low producer price paid to cocoa farmers over the years.
Sometime ago, it was even reported that in some cocoa-growing areas, farmers had become so frustrated with the degrading producer price that they were willing to cut down their cocoa trees in favour of food crops.
Against this background, it is good news that the two leading cocoa-producing countries in the world – Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire – have stepped up efforts at reaching a major agreement, which will make it possible for the two countries to control the pricing of cocoa on the world market.
This was announced by the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, when he addressed the on-going World Cocoa Foundation meeting in Sao Paulo in Brazil.
The two countries have, over the years, been showing relevant concern about the plight of cocoa farmers, who cannot be paid producer prices commensurate with the sweat they shed in the production of the precious beans.
As Mr. Boahen Aidoo rightly observed in his address, “It is unethical and unfair, and we cannot talk about the sustainability of the industry, when we are not paying commensurate and rewarding prices to farmers.”
To indicate the extent of seriousness and commitment of Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire, the COCOBOD chief revealed that they had set up a technical team to work out the actual cost of cocoa production per tonne. This, they sincerely believe, will serve as the basis for arriving at the floor price.
These strenuous efforts by the two leading cocoa producing countries in the world at trying to put more money into the pockets of our hard working cocoa farmers must gladden their hearts.
Why not? They wake up at cockcrow, sharpen their machetes, and leave for their farms to be at the mercy of itching weeds, thorns that prick their skins, insects that feed fat on them, hunger that gnaws at them, snakes that may frighten them out of their wits, sweat that drenches their bodies to dripping point, etc, etc.
The Chronicle highly commends presidents Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of La Cote d’Ivoire on their relentless efforts to breathe life into the cocoa industry in their respective countries, and urges them not to rest on their oars.