The Government of Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Cocobod last Saturday, at a hugely impressive ceremony at Tepa Senior High School announced a new producer price for a bag of cocoa.
Announcing the upward review, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson said the new price for a bag of cocoa will now cost 475ghana cedis.
This upward review, he indicated stemmed from a meeting the Producer Price Review Committee on Cocoa had and thus arriving at the new figure of about 50ghana cedis increment representing 11.7percent.
Mr Forson stressed the increment took immediate effect from the 1st of October, 2016 urging farmers to demand same from any place they sold their produce.
Addressing the gathering earlier, Dr Stephen Opuni, Chief Executive Officer for Ghana Cocobod mentioned plans by government to increase extension services to boost cocoa production countrywide.
He stressed the continuation of the improved seedling distribution to farmers from its current rate to about 600,000,000 throughout the crop season.
According to him, government was determined to ensure farmers get increased crop yields all year round and reduce disease outbreak in plantations.
Dr Opuni disclosed government’s intention to vigorously pursue the construction of roads in cocoa growing areas including the Eastern corridor ones.
However, the upward announcement of the new producer price was greeted with moans and grumblings from farmers who had gathered at the Tepa Senior Secondary School moments after the Deputy Minister made it public.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Observer Newspaper, Madam Awo Ntiriwaah, a cocoa farmer said the new price was very low and disheartening.
According to her, the increment cannot help her recoup the cost of production, stressing the need for government to take a second look at the meager increment.
Mr Kofi Kontoh and Noah Amenyah, cocoa farmers from the Western Region bemoaned the low price increment, adding it would be difficult for them to recoup monies spent on their plantation since chemical application was gradually draining them.
Chairing the event, Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem, Tepamanhene encouraged farmers to do their best to ensure year round production.
He also urged government to continue to invest more into the agricultural sector, adding cocoa production was becoming very capital intensive.
The Chief also stressed the need for government to give more incentives to cocoa farmers so as to encourage and entice the youth into farming.