Cocoa farmers nationwide, from yesterday, October 14, this year, received GH¢80 extra on each tone of cocoa produce following a 76.04 per cent increment in the net free-on-board (FOB) price of cocoa by government.
Consequently, the producer price to be paid to farmers for each tonne of cocoa produced within the 2011/12 cocoa season now stands at GH¢3,280, up from the 2010/11 season price of GH¢3,200.
A bag of 64 kilogrammes gross weight of cocoa will now fetch GH¢205, instead of the GH¢200 that was paid in the 2010/11 season.
The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and Chairman of the Producer Price Review Committee, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, who announced the adjustment in Accra, said the increment was to help recognize the efforts of “our hardworking cocoa farmers”.
According to Dr Duffuor, although the continuing fall in the price of cocoa beans on the world market could have caused the government to maintain last year’s producer price for this year, “the government has decided to sacrifice part of its share (export tax) of the FOB in order to enhance the producer price paid to farmers.
He said the decision to increase the price, in spite of the global fall in cocoa prices, was “to further emphasise the importance of the non-oil sector, especially agriculture and for that matter cocoa which has been the backbone of the country’s economy”.
World market price of cocoa, which contributes about 3.4 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic (GDP), has been falling, dropping form US$3,747 in March to a little above US$2,660.
In addition to the price adjustment, Dr Duffuor said the government “will continue to support cocoa farmers through the pests and diseases control programme, the provision of fertilizers at subsidised prices, the provision of jute bags and other related items”.
The government, according to him, had also directed the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) “to work out bonuses payable to cocoa farmers on the 2010/2011 season for their hard work in attaining the one million production target”.
“COCOBOD is also to ensure that payment of the bonus is effected before December 2012” the Minister added. He also hinted of plans by the government to roll out a Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme in January next year, in addition to the Cocoa Farmers Housing Scheme.
The National Chief Farmer of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association, Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, told the Daily Graphic in an interview after the announcement that the increment “showed that the government is thinking about the Ghanaian cocoa farmer”.
Source: Daily Graphic