Government will incur an additional debt of GHc 1.5 billion in subsiding the price of cocoa, the Ministry of Agriculture has announced.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of Perennial Crops, Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko said at a press conference on Thursday, government had to incur ghc 2 billion in subsiding the price of cocoa in 2017.
He was reacting to the allegations by the Minority in parliament that, government was fleecing cocoa farmers by refusing to increase the price of cocoa. He refuted the allegations and insisted that, government maintained the price despite the reduction of price on the world market.
He said government should be commended for maintaining the price because the real market price would have been ghc 6,000. He further explained that, the price on the world market sunk as low as $2,080 and at an exchange rate of ghc4.4 and the tonne sold for ghc 9,152 “and yet the Akufo-Addo govenet is keeping faith with farmers maintained the price of ghc 475.
This translated into the government consistently of ensuring that the universal formula of paying a minimum of 70 percent is preserved, he added. On the issue of rising administrative cost, he rubbished claims by the Minority that government has increased it’s administrative cost.
He said, the administrative cost is predicated by variables including warehousing, trucking, commission to LBC’s, fumigation, casual and contract workers which are all volume related. Government he stressed deserves commendation for reducing the salary of COCOBOD CEO by 30 percent.
In concluding his address, he said, as part of productivity improvement program, and in anticipation of world market price volatility, COCOBOD has put in place schemes aimed at improving the current 450kg/ha to minimum of 1500kg/ha. These schemes include spraying, fertilization, subsidy and hand pollination. Government has maintained the price of cocoa at GHc7,600 per tonne for the 2018/19 main crop harvest.
Agric Minister, Dr Afriyie Akoto made the announcement whiles addressing cocoa farmers and other stakeholders in the cocoa industry at the 2018 Cocoa Day event.
“The 2018/19 cocoa season which starts on Friday, October 5, has been officially announced. The government in consultation with stakeholders has decided to maintain the producer price for cocoa at GH?7,600 per tonne or GH?475 per bag of 64 Kilograms (KG),” he stated.