In spite of the falling cocoa prices on the international market, government has assured farmers that it has no intention to reduce the producer price.
In October last year, the Ghana Cocoa Board reviewed the producer price of cocoa upwards from GH₵6,720.00 per tonne to GH₵7,520 per tonne for the 2016/2017 season.
This, according to the Board Chairman of the Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, will remain unchanged.
“Prices are falling so far [but] we have not touched the producer price for farmers, we are doing everything possible, achieve some economics and to make sure that the farmers don’t get shortchanged for this.
“So for now, we are keeping the prices as they are. We have assured them (farmers) and this government is prepared to do that, nobody is talking about reducing prices, no.”
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman was speaking to the media on Tuesday at the second day of a three-day West Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness conference in Accra being organised by the Commodities Research Unit (CRU) in partnership with the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).
Addressing delegates at the conference, Mr. Owusu-Agyeman said following recent increase in cocoa production, especially in Cote d’Ivoire, the cocoa market has registered about 40% fall in prices since the mid-2016.
“This phenomenon must be a big concern to all stakeholders in the cocoa value chain, especially to some of us who manage the production side of the industry.”
Nonetheless, he said government is determined to increase production in the country to 1.5 million tonnes, which he later told the media is “doable” within the next two to three years.
The achievement of this projection, he said, is dependent on a number of factors including: soil fertility management; pests and diseases control; artificial pollination of farms; payment of remunerative producer price; quality of planting materials; and the adoption of irrigation on farms; replanting of over-aged cocoa farms.
The COCOBOD board chairman also spoke about how nutrients in soil use for agriculture has been depleted due to decades of poor agricultural practices.
“On the average, the current level of soil fertility on cocoa farms in Ghana is said to be less than 10% of what is necessary for productive crops and soils. This growing problem is compounded by increasing global demand for cocoa.”
Chairman of Board of Trustees, the African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) Dr. Namanga Ngongi lamented that although about 60% of lands in Africa are arable, it has not been able to transform agriculture for economic growth.
Emphasising on the need for the continent to shift from import-driven economy and produce more locally, he noted that there are available technology that can be introduced to farmers to boost production.
“This conference collaboration between CRU and the African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) – could not have come at a better time when food security is at the top of the global agenda and more importantly, a talking point on the African continent. Agriculture is ticket out of poverty and the next frontier for Africa’s economic growth.
Sessions at the conference include discussions on how ICT solutions can be applied to both the fertilizer supply chain and West African agribusiness development, financing tools to enable fertilizer trade and investment in the agribusiness and developing networks of warehouses, blenders, baggers and distributors that are vital part of the fertilizer supply value chain.
By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana