Despite huge price drops of the commodity on the world market, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has maintained its price at GH?7,600, the equivalent of $1,720 per tonne since October 2016.
On the other hand, the resulting decline in prices on the world market forced Ivory Coast to slash the price it pays farmers in March by 36 per cent to 700 CFA francs per kilogramme, the equivalent of $1,290 a tonne.
Last season opened with a price of 1,100 CFA francs/kg, but that dropped to 700 CFA francs/kg in March amidst a sharp drop in world prices.
Ivory Coast is close to agreeing an increase in the minimum price paid to cocoa farmers to 750 CFA francs ($1.40) per kilogramme for the 2017/18 season, while holding the export tax at 16 per cent.
Export taxes were reduced in April from 22 per cent to 16 per cent to soften the impact of the drop on exporters.
The world’s top producer sells forward the bulk of its anticipated harvest to be able to set a minimum price for farmers, known as the farmgate price, at the start of the season on Oct. 1.
2017/18 Cocoa season opens October 13
COCOBOD plans to open the 2017/18 cocoa season on October 13, later than usual, after receiving part of a syndicated loan it signed this month to cover its purchasing needs.
In recent years, COCOBOD has opened its crop year in the first week of October.
Price difference fuelling smuggling
Industry watchers estimate that between 100,000 and 120,000 tonnes of beans were smuggled into Ghana in the current season due to the price difference.
Fate of bonus hangs in the balance
The regulator, COCOBOD, had earlier in the year hinted that Ghana might not pay annual bonuses to cocoa farmers this year due to a drop in global prices from $3,000 in June 2016 to about $1,975.
Production to hit 950,000 tonnes
Production is expected to hit 950,000 tonnes of beans, the highest output since the record 2010-11 season yielded one million tonnes.
1 Million tonnes by 2020
Ghana, the second largest producing country in the world, targets to raise production to 1 million tonnes by 2020, from the current annual output of 800,000 tonnes.
The cocoa sector contributes 4.22% of Gross Domestic Products (GDP), 30% of export earnings.
President at 70th anniversary of COCOBOD
Speaking at the occasion of World Cocoa Day and celebration of the 70th anniversary of COCOBOD in Kumasi yesterday, President Nana Akufo-Addo said Ghana and Ivory Coast have agreed to collaborate to raise a stronger voice in determining the price of cocoa on the international market.
Ghana, Ivory Coast collaborate to end injustice in cocoa pricing
“Ghana and Ivory Coast have now decided to co-operate in ensuring that we do not continue to be victims or pawns of a global cocoa industry that is dependent on the work of our farmers. I have, since assuming office, worked closely with His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Ivory Coast, to provide the necessary leadership for technical and political co-operation that addresses effectively the international cocoa price decline in the short-to-medium term”, he said.
According to the President, the two countries have been fashioning out far-reaching policies towards achieving a shared vision of an industrialised and prosperous domestic cocoa economy for both countries.
“This, I am sure, will reduce our vulnerability to the volatility of the markets and help deliver prosperity to our farmers and peoples”, he stated.
Ghana, Ivory Coast get only $5.75bn out of $100bn chocolate market
The President recounted that while the two countries contributed to more than 60% of the world’s cocoa output, their total earning from the sale of cocoa beans amounted to a paltry $5.75 billion whereas the chocolate market was worth some $100 billion in that same year.
“It means that the farmers whose toil and sweat produced 60% plus of the world’s cocoa earned 5.75% of the global value of their activity. This cannot, and should not, continue. It is manifest injustice. We have to devise ways of ensuring that our farmers reap much greater value from their toil”.
Value addition to Ghana’s cocoa
As part of measures to add value to Ghana’s cocoa, the President noted that government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ policy has been directed towards the roll-out of programmes that will create small-scale cocoa processing industries across the cocoa-growing districts of the country.
Ghana targets to process 50% of beans
Additionally, the Minister for Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has been directed towards increasing domestic processing of cocoa from the current levels to a minimum of 50% of annual production by 2020.
This, according to the President, will significantly increase export revenues and foreign exchange earnings from cocoa.
President congratulates cocoa farmers
The President used the occasion to congratulate cocoa farmers in the country for their selfless contributions towards the development of the Ghanaian economy.
“On such an occasion, we must acknowledge with gratitude the work of the past generations of cocoa farmers, who were responsible for the growth of the cocoa industry. In their hundreds and hundreds of thousands, they worked to provide us the income with which we have built our nation’s infrastructure and its most important educational institutions”.
Tribute to Tetteh Quarshie
He also used the occasion to pay glowing tribute to Tetteh Quarshie, whose singular effort brought the golden pod to Ghana, as well as many other great patriots who led the agitation, in the Gold Coast, in seeking just and fair rewards for our cocoa farmers.
Their struggle, he said, resulted, eventually, in the establishment of the Cocoa Marketing Board.
He recalled that by 1935, 60 years after the arrival of Tetteh Quarshie from Fernando Po, farmers were supplying half of the world’s tonnage of cocoa, and as was the order of the time, they did not have any say in the price paid for their products.
“When world cocoa prices began to slump, most of the European firms who purchased cocoa formed a ‘Pool’ to agree on the price to be paid for cocoa. This ‘Pool’ was viewed with great suspicion by the farmers, and with the co-operation of chiefs and advise from persons like Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah and the other nationalists, the farmers decided to boycott the ‘Pool’, and refused to sell their cocoa to them. Dr Danquah wrote an account of the boycott in a pamphlet titled ‘The Liberty of the Subject’. It was largely the agitation led by Dr Danquah, which brought about the appointment of the Nowell Commission in 1937. Indeed, the recommendations of the Nowell Commission eventually led to the establishment of the Cocoa Marketing Board in 1947”, he recalled.
The President was, however, confident that the reintroduction of the Cocoa Diseases and Pest Control Programme (CODAPEC), otherwise known as mass cocoa spraying exercise, together with the provision of subsidised fertiliser to farmers, will help Ghana regain her pride.