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Government is robbing cocoa farmers – Ato Forson

Maintaining producer price for cocoa at GHC475 per bag of 64 kilogramme for the crop season of 2018/2019 will cost the farmer an amount of GHC35.75 per bag of cocoa, a former Chairman of the Cocoa Producer Price Review Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson has observed.

Mr. Forson accused government of duping the cocoa farmers by determining prices with exchange rate of 4.54 instead of 4.8.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto during the 2018 Cocoa Day Grand Durbar announced that government has maintained the producer price of cocoa for the 2018/2019 cocoa season at GH¢7,600 per tonne, translating into GH¢475 per bag of 64 kilogramme (kg) gross weight.

According to the Minister, the decline in the price of the commodity on the international market, which had forced all the other 21 producing countries to slash their producer prices, made it impossible for the government to review the producer price upwards.

Speaking on Citi TV’s Point of View, former Deputy Minister of Finance expressed disappointment in government and COCOBOD for being insensitive toward cocoa farmers in the country.

He argues that cocoa prices must be calculated based on BoG’s rate of 4.8% since “COCOBOD only sells to the Central Bank. The Central Bank is the only one with that ability to absorb 1.3 billion, the rest will not have that ability”.

“…Looking at the volume and projected 900,000 metric tonnes with that exchange rate, the farmer is shortchanged by 287million US dollars. And that 287million US dollars if you’re to translate it, you’re talking of something about GHC1.2 billion,” he further explained.

“Based on the Bank of Ghana figures that I have, as at September for instance is at 4.7655. We projected that because of the trend we’ll end October, by the time the drop down is made, we’ll be hovering around 4.8 because of the trend analysis,” the former Deputy Finance Minister said.

He urged the Ghana Cocoa Board and the government “to do what is right to ensure that the cocoa farmer, as we all know they’ve contributed so much to the prosperity of this country.”

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