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The Government of Ghana has lost about 1.1 billion dollars this year as a result of the dramatic decline of the price of cocoa on the international market, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, has disclosed.
The decline in cocoa price according to the Minister is the lowest in years. The price, he said, has dropped from more than US$3,000 per tone only 10 months ago to as low as US$1,900 in recent months.
The situation, he stated, has compelled other countries to reduce drastically their producer prices of cocoa. The Government of Ghana, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, explained has decided however to maintain the producer price of cocoa at Ghc 7,600.00 per tone for the 2017/18 cocoa season.
This, he said is equivalent to Ghc 475 per bag of 64 kg gross weight, adding that this is the same price paid to cocoa farmers in the 2016/202017 season. The Minister of Food and Agriculture urged Licensed Buying Companies [LBC] to take note of the price and pay cocoa farmers the appropriate price noting that the price takes effect from Friday, 3rd October, 2017.
The huge drop in the world price of cocoa, he, contends has reduced revenues to an extent that the stabilization fund is not enough to cushion farmers and other stakeholders in the domestic value chain, revealing that the Government has sacrificed its share of FOB[ export duty] in order to keep the producer price at Ghc 7,600.00 per tone.
This paper has established the Producer Price Review Committee [PPRC] has also approved other rates and fees for all other stakeholders in the industry. These include the buyers’ margin, hauliers’ rate, warehousing and internal marketing costs as well as fees for disinfestations, grading and sealing.
The margins, rates and charges, this reporter has gathered have seen reductions over last year’s levels due to the price drop. On Government support and commitment, the Minister of Food and Agriculture said Government has intensified measures aimed at increasing the productivity of cocoa farms and improving the efficiency of the operations of COCOBOD.
In line with these, he said Government is introducing hand [artificial] pollination as well as small scale irrigation in cocoa. Government according to Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto is also supporting the free pests and diseases control [Mass Spraying] and subsidized fertilizer application programmes for cocoa farmers to increase the productivity of cocoa farms.
Additionally, he said Government has revamped the programme aimed at rehabilitating and replanting overaged cocoa farms and farms that have been affected by the swollen shoot virus disease. Cocoa scholarship to the wards of cocoa farmers as part of COCOBOD corporate social responsibility, the Minister of Food and Agriculture said would continue the child support programme to facilitate the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa