Mahama Is Deceiving Cocoa Farmers!  … They have not been short-changed in the new producer price –NPP

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has debunked claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), led by its flagbearer, Mr John Dramani Mahama, that the Government has short-changed cocoa farmers by failing to pay them the right producer price.

According to the Party, these claims by the National Democratic Congress are false and cannot be supported by actual events on the grounds, but rather only for political expediency.

Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, the Director of Communications of the NPP, Mr Richard Ahiagbah said the Producer Price of Cocoa had gone up by 63.5%, from GH¢12,800 per metric tonne (GH¢800.00 per bag) to GH¢20,943 or $1,821 per metric tonne, equivalent to GH¢1,308 per bag.

According to him, the new producer price, which was announced by President Akufo-Addo recently, was greeted with widespread gratification by the entire cocoa community in Ghana.

The party reinstated that all stakeholders in the cocoa industry, including Farmers and The Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), have all expressed joy and satisfaction at the new price and have commended the government for staying true to its words.

“Ghana’s new producer price of cocoa is the highest in 50 years, among the West African sub-regional cocoa-producing countries”, Ahiagbah contended.

To the NPP, the calculations were based on the achieved Free-On-Board (FoB) Price of $2,600 per tonne from the forward sales of cocoa, with an exchange rate of GH₵11.50 to a dollar.

Benefits of the Producer Price Increase

They said the cocoa farmers will receive a higher price for their cocoa beans, increasing their income, while farmers can use the extra income to improve their living standards, invest in their farms and meet other financial needs.

“A higher producer price motivates existing cocoa farmers to continue cocoa cultivation and encourage others to enter the industry, which can contribute to the sustainability of the cocoa sector,” he said.

The rise in the Producer Price of cocoa, Mr Ahiagbah indicated, was poised to create employment prospects for young individuals in agriculture, engaging them as laborers in tasks like planting, harvesting and cocoa farm maintenance, “with the potential for more significant income, youths will be motivated to pursue cocoa farming as a viable and legal alternative to other often illicit endeavours, like Galamsey”.

Impact of CSSVD on Production

The party rather blamed the NDC on the decline in yields. “The decision by the then management to suspend the treatment of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD), resulting in many cocoa farms being attacked by the viral disease, is the root cause of Ghana’s decline in production.

“It would be recalled, as a result of the NDC government’s decision to withdraw support to farmers in treating the CSSVD in the Western Region, and as a result that action yields dropped significantly from 346,000 metric tons to below 140,000 metric tons”, he told the media.

According to him, the management of COCOBOD, through the support of the Government led by President Akufo Addo, has been able to restore most of these farms, which were plagued by diseases under the NDC, through the Cocoa Rehabilitation Program.

These farms, according to the party, are expected to yield positive results in the next few years and help increase Ghana’s production capacity and other social interventions are also currently being implemented for the benefit of cocoa farmers in the country.

Highest Ever Production

The party further stated that despite the challenges they met, their administration (NPP) recorded its highest-ever production of one million and forty-five thousand five hundred metric tonnes (1,045,500) in the 2020/21 Crop Season.

“It is, therefore, not accurate when the NDC claims that the NPP have a poor track record in cocoa production. In fact, in their case in 2009, when the country recorded a million tonnes, it was due to the ripple effects of the interventions introduced by the then NPP administration under President John Agyekum Kufuor”, he said.

Other Cocoa Sector Interventions

The NPP noted that no other cocoa-producer country supports formers with interventions, like the Cocoa Rehabilitation Program, Mass Pruning, Hand Pollination, Mass Spraying, Fertilizer Subsidy Program and Free Seedlings, as is the case in Ghana.

Furthermore, they revealed that over 30,000 Ghanaians have been employed in cocoa-producing communities, who are rehabilitating and restoring affected cocoa farms.



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