The incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) has told cocoa farmers in Ghana that a return of former President John Mahama in government will mean more hardship for them.
At a press conference on Monday, 5 October 2020, the party’s communication director, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, said as far as the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is concerned, “cocoa is just an avenue for corruption”.
He said Mr Mahama will leave the “industry and the farmer to suffer” should he win the 2020 polls.
“Our humble warning to cocoa farmers, their dependants and all well-meaning Ghanaians is this: keep candidate Mahama’s hands away from your cocoa,” the Adentan MP warned.
He said “when it comes to the well-being and welfare of the Ghanaian farmer, candidate Mahama is dangerous.
Mr Mahama, he noted, “does not know how to manage the economy”.
“He does not know how to help the cocoa industry.
“He has no clue what the needs of the farmers are.”
On the flipside, Mr Buaben Asamoa said President Nana Akufo-Addo can be trusted “to protect the progress made so far to transform the industry for the welfare and well-being of all Ghanaians.”
“The cocoa sector is another area where the President has demonstrated strong leadership and initiative”, he stated.
For instance, he noted, the International Community Price Support System has allowed “our farmers to now earn an additional income through a $400 premium on the world price of cocoa”.
About a week ago, President Nana Akufo-Addo told the chiefs of the Western Region that: “Nananom, beginning 1 October 2020, I am happy to announce the award of a new cocoa producer price GHS10,560 per metric tonne, equivalent to GHS660 per bag for the coming 2020/21 crop year”.
“This represents a hike of more than twenty-eight per cent (28%) over the price obtained in the outgoing crop year of 2019/2020”, the president said on Thursday, 24 September 2020, on day 1 of his 3-day tour of the Western North Region, when he launched the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme, in Sefwi Wiawso.
The current 2019/20 producer price of GHS8,240 per metric tonne, i.e. GHS514 per bag, was an 8.2% increase over the 2018/2019 price of GHS7,615, i.e. GHS475 per bag
“By this new producer price, we have kept faith with our commitment, under the international arrangement with Côte d’Ivoire and global stakeholders, by awarding to our farmers the full four hundred United States dollars per metric ton (US$400/MT) Living Income Differential (LID),” he said.
The President continued, “By this substantial increase in the producer price, we are also delivering on our 2016 manifesto promise to reward handsomely the hard work of our cocoa farmers and their unequalled contribution to the economy of Ghana over the years.”
Living Income Differential
Touching on the unstable nature of cocoa prices on the world cocoa market, President Akufo-Addo stated that “it remains one of the biggest challenges to ensuring payment of decent farm-gate prices to our cocoa farmers.”
With Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire responsible for 65% of the raw cocoa beans used in making chocolates, the President bemoaned the fact that cocoa farmers from the two countries just US$6 billion from an over $100 billion chocolate industry.
This, he explained, is the meagre return that hardworking farmers get from their toil.
“Government believes that value-addition to our cocoa, and the search for new markets, will make us more money than all the aid given to us by all the donor countries. We shall gain some dignity, and spare the donors the fatigue we have all heard about,” he added.
This, according to President Akufo-Addo, is the rationale for the Strategic Partnership between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, the common initiative of His Excellency President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and himself, which is manifesting itself in a joint cocoa production and marketing policy, and which is already paying dividends.
“Today, I am happy to announce that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are receiving a Living Income Differential (LID) of four hundred United States dollars (US$400) per ton of cocoa, which is an additional earning from the world market price for our farmers. The Living Income Differential is going to guarantee some stability to the producer price of cocoa and sustainability of the industry in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire,” the President said.