The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its leader John Dramani Mahama, according to the New Patriotic Party (NPP), lack the moral authority to contest the recent increase in the price of cocoa or to level baseless accusations that the government has underpaid cocoa farmers.
The Akufo-Addo government, claims the party, has demonstrated unprecedented commitment to the well-being of the cocoa farmers and will continue to do so for a sustainable cocoa sector. Akufo-Addo’s achievements include the highest cocoa producer price in 50 years, the Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme, novel Living Income Differential (LID), rehabilitation of disease-infested cocoa farms, and other extensive interventions.
Richard Ahiagbah, the NPP’s director of communications, addressed a press conference to refute the NDC’s assertions, pointing out that the NDC government had announced a producer price of $1,800 or GH6,800 per tonne, or 61.71% of the gross FOB of $2,950 per tonne for the 2015–16 season.
On the other hand, he claimed that the current NPP administration has set a price for the 2023–24 season of GH 20,943 ($1,821 per metric tonne), which is 70.03% of the weighted average FoB of $2,600 per tonne.
According to him, the weighted average FoB under the NDC government was $350, which was more than what the current administration was able to secure.
He did note that NDC paid farmers 61.71% of the FoB, which is 8.59% less than the 70.03% of FoB claimed by the current administration.
According to Mr. Ahiagbah, these confirmed facts disprove the NDC’s propaganda and validate the NPP as the party that is concerned about the welfare of cocoa growers.
He claimed that because a high producer price makes farmers less susceptible to economic shocks and provides them with a more consistent and secure means of support, it will enable farmers to raise their standard of living, make investments in their farms, and meet other financial responsibilities.
According to Mr. Ahiagbah, he is optimistic that a higher producer price will encourage current cocoa farmers to continue their operations and lure newcomers into the market, which can help ensure the long-term viability of the cocoa business.
According to Ahiagbah, the high producer price may encourage young people to undertake cocoa growing as a profitable and lawful alternative to other, frequently criminal, activities like “Galamsey.”
The producer price announcement was shifted from its customary October date to September, according to the NPP Director of Communications. This modification was implemented so that farmers would have rapid access to funding to meet their financial obligations.
According to him, the government maintained the producer price, which cost the government a lot to maintain in order to absorb the losses and protect farmers, when the world market price of cocoa fell from $2,950 in 2016 to $2,050 in 2017 and only slightly increased to roughly $2,350.
Additionally, he added, “It is crucial to remember that Ghana’s cocoa beans are primarily sold forward. This indicates that between October 2022 and June 2023, the harvest for 2023/24 was sold at worldwide prices ranging from $2,060 per tonne to $ 2,800 per tonne.
According to Mr. Ahiagbah, who spoke to the media, the price of cocoa on the international market started to rise in April 2023, when a larger portion of the 2023–24 crop’s production had already been sold.
According to him, COCOBOD can guarantee a producer price for farmers through the advance sale method and raise the syndicated loan offshore to pay farmers quickly for their produce.
He also made mention of modifications to the producer pricing calculation process, which switched from Net FoB to Gross FoB.
“The difference is that when net FOB is used, farmers are paid after all industrial costs have been subtracted from the total. Farmers get a smaller share of the total sale revenues using this strategy, according to Ahiagbah.