Former President John Dramani Mahama has said government’s announcement of an increase in the farm-gate price of cocoa is a rip-off of farmers and their families.
In a Facebook post, he said with the international market price surging to a 46-year record high of $3,600, the government should have given the cocoa farmers their fair share of the international Free on Board (FOB) price.
“Sadly, the government has chosen to give them a paltry GH¢1,308 per bag, constituting only 52.7 percent of the FOB price of the product on the international market,” he said.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) flag bearer said this was unfair to the cocoa farmers, who had been worse off since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over the reins of government in 2017.
“In 2016, my government, in addition to the free fertilizer and free cocoa seedlings program, gave cocoa farmers 66.06 percent of the FOB price of cocoa.
“This NPP administration should have built on this foundation,” he said.
They have increased the operational expenses of COCOBOD and reduced the international FOB share for the farmers.
Cocoa farmers certainly deserve better,” he added.
The 63.5 percent increment also translates into GH¢20,943 per tonne of raw cocoa beans, up from GH¢12,800 per tonne.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the new price from GH¢800 per 64 kilogram (kg) bag to GH¢1,308.
He made the announcement at a durbar of chiefs and cocoa farmers at Tepa in the Ashanti Region last Saturday.
He said the new price “is the highest to be paid to cocoa farmers across West Africa in over 50 years.”
The President said the government decided to open the cocoa season in September instead of the usual October.
“We know the farmers will be sending their wards to school at this time, it is prudent to sell cocoa to meet such expenditures than to borrow at higher interest rates when the cocoa is readily available,” President Akufo-Addo explained.
The announcement last Saturday effectively ushers in the 2023-2024 cocoa season.
The new price was met with spontaneous applause and shouts of joy by cocoa farmers who were at the durbar.
Out of excitement, they tried to mount the President’s podium in appreciation of the new price.