President Akufo-Addo over the weekend announced 63.5% increment in the price of cocoa with an assurance to farmers that better days are ahead. This increment, according to the president, is equivalent to USD$ 1,821 per ton.
Speaking at the formal opening of the 2023/2024 cocoa season at Tepa, in the Ahafo-Ano North Municipality of the Ashanti region on Saturday, Nana Addo said the increment was the highest in the West African sub-region in the last fifteen years.
“Today, cocoa prices have increased from GH¢12, 800 per tonne to GH¢20,943; or GH¢1,308 per bag,” the president said.
The move, according to the president, is aimed at honouring cocoa farmers with good pricing and that the new pricing policy would continue in the years ahead.
According to President Akufo Addo, his vision for the sector hinges on innovation, impact and job creation.
The development, according to him, had led to the creation of some 130,000 jobs.
“Government will continue through COCOBOD to introduce innovations to improve the welfare of Ghanaian farmers through the implementation of productivity enhancing programme”, he said.
An elated Akufo Addo told the gathering that the initiative taken by the COCOBOD have a positive impact on the cocoa economy.
“I am confident the programme introduced by COCOBOD will enable us to attain a significant level of self-reliance, promote industralisation and provide adequate cushion against the adverse effects of price.
“We will not relent on our promise of helping to create positive and permanent change in the cocoa and agriculture sector of our economy. Together, let us work towards the sustainable cocoa economy that delivers increasing continuous benefits to our cherished farmers and all stakeholders in the value chain”, he said.
President Akufo Addo advised Ghanaians to consume cocoa products all year round, emphasising that, “As we consume cocoa products, we stay healthy and grow cocoa and grow Ghana.”
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, described the new producer price as historic in the annals of COCOBOD.
He announced that the government, through COCOBOD, had also introduced Ghana’s Cocoa Traceability System to enhance quality and transparency. This is in addition to pollination, which has seen significant production of cocoa from a single tree.
Mr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, mentioned that cocoa played a crucial role in the development of the Ghanaian economy, through the annual cocoa syndicated loan.
Mr Acheampong paid glowing tribute to the prestige attached to Ghana’s cocoa across the globe.
However, he underscored that the sector was faced with some challenges, chief among them being the smuggling of cocoa beans from Ghana.
This challenge, he noted, was being perpetuated by individuals who are private merchants.
He vowed to deal with the challenge saying, “I will not disappoint Ghana to stop cocoa smuggling.”
Mr Bryan Acheampong noted that policies undertaken and implemented by the state showed that government was committed to improving the cocoa industry.
Simon Osei-Mensah, the Ashanti Regional Minister, on his part, underscored how Ghana’s cocoa is revered across the globe.
He subsequently charged farmers to resist any attempt of inducement by misguided people to sell off their cocoa farms to operators of illegal mining.
The Ashanti Regional Minister also implored them to stay away from smuggling cocoa beans to other countries, since it affects Ghana.
Adding his voice to the cascading menace of galamsey to the cocoa industry, Mr. Peter Mac Manu, the board chair of COCOBOD, said cocoa is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy, however, galamsey had been the major threat to the sector.
He subsequently urged farmers to stop substituting their farmlands for money, through galamsey.
Mr Mac Manu regretted that the regulatory body, COCOBOD, had recorded the largest menace of galamsey in the last two years.
Nevertheless, he assured cocoa farmers that COCOBOD was doing its best for farmers, hence the policies introduced to make the cocoa sector vibrant.
Even before the president would announce the new price of cocoa, Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, the National President of Cocoa, Coffee and Shea Butter (COCOSHE), on behalf of the association, expressed profound appreciation to the president for the new price.
According to him, policies such as Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme, Prunning, Hand Pollination, Cocoa Fertilizer Subsidy Programme, Free Seedlings Programme among others, are bold decisions introduced by the government through COCOBOD.
On behalf of the farmers, he expressed appreciation to the government, saying the new price was a reflection of improved living standards of farmers and welcomed the early opening of the cocoa season.
Touching on smuggling, Alhassan Bukari assured COCOBOD that the association would do their best to curb the menace.
Nana Adusei Atwenewaah Ampem I, the paramount chief of Tepa Traditional Area, who chaired the programme, condemned the sale of cocoa farms to illegal miners.