The National Communications Bureau of the National Democratic Congress in collaboration with the Minority Caucus in Parliament is set to hold a ”Cocoa Farmers and Media Conference” tomorrow, Wednesday, 13th September, 2023 at Dadiesoaba in the Ahafo region.
The objective of the program according to a statement released by the National Communications Officer of the Party, Sammy Gyamfi is to educate hardworking cocoa farmers in Ghana on the facts underpinning the announced farm-gate price of cocoa for the 2023/2024 cocoa season.
Mr. Sammy Gyamfi also indicated that the party intends to use the occasion to expose the grand deception that President Akuffo-Addo, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the New Patriotic Party administration are meting out to the already impoverished cocoa farmers in the country.
The program is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. and will be streamed live on several media networks across the country.
NDC Accuses President Akuffo Addo For Shortchanging Cocoa Farmers
The National Democratic Congress has accused President Akuffo Addo and his administration of shortchanging Ghanaian cocoa farmers.
According to the NDC, the announced increment in the farmgate price of cocoa to GHS1308.00 is a total rip-off as cocoa farmers will continue to remain worse off than they were seven years ago under John Mahama and the NDC administration.
The party argued that the spot price of cocoa on the international market has surged to a record high of about $3,600 per metric ton as of 31st August 2023. According to the NDC, this price is the highest since 1977- that is, in the last 46 years.
The opposition party believes with such a historic increase in the international market price of cocoa, President Akuffo-Addo and his administration should have given farmers their fair share but sadly, it has once again decided to shortchange the already-impoverished cocoa farmers.
“The announced farm-gate price of GH₵1,308 per bag of cocoa constitutes a paltry 52.7% of the Free-On-Board (FOB) Price of cocoa on the international market, as against the 66% of FOB Price which was given to cocoa farmers for the 2016/2017 cocoa season by the NDC/Mahama government.
Thus, whereas President Mahama and the NDC gave cocoa farmers a farm-gate price of 66% of the international FOB price in 2016, the insensitive Akuffo-Addo/Bawumia government has given the impoverished cocoa farmer a paltry 52.7% of the international FOB price for the 2023/2024 cocoa season”.National Democratic Congress
The NDC has therefore accused President Akuffo Addo and the ruling New Patriotic Party of retaining a whopping GH₵1,516 while giving the poor cocoa farmer only GH₵1,308 per bag of cocoa and chastised President Akuffo-Addo and his administration as having the worst record in terms of increases in cocoa prices in Ghana as they are the first government in the history of the Fourth Republic which has refused to increase the farmgate price of cocoa for three consecutive seasons – 2019/2022, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 cocoa seasons.
The National Democratic Congress also criticized President Akuffo Addo and the ruling NPP for its poor management of COCOBOD, as COCOBOD has recorded huge losses and indebtedness as a result of crass mismanagement in the last six (6) years.
According to the National Democratic Congress below are details of the losses incurred by COCOBOD under President Akuffo-Addo’s administration.
2017 GH₵395 million
2018 GH₵78.2 million
2019 GH₵320.6 million
2020 GH₵426 million
2021 GH₵2.4 billion
“It is sad to note, that for the first time in the history of Ghana, COCOBOD has defaulted on its short-term obligations since the introduction of Cocoa bills by the Bank of Ghana in 2002. Payment of cocoa bills amounting to almost GH₵8 billion has been postponed as part of the Domestic Debt Exchange Program currently being rolled out by COCOBOD.”National Democratic Congress
The National Democratic Congress has also indicated that due to the gross mismanagement of the cocoa sector, which has occasioned huge indebtedness to COCOBOD, the government is unable to secure a syndicated loan facility for the 2023/2024 season, a situation which is starving the Licensed Buying Companies’ financial capacity to purchase cocoa beans from the cocoa farmers
According to the NDC, this has created a situation where the already impoverished cocoa farmer is compelled to sell their cocoa beans on credit to LBCs and wait until these companies receive funding from COCOBOD before the poor farmer gets paid for his toil.