Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, has urged the Governments of Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire to take steps to influence world cocoa prices just like members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) do regularly in the oil industry.
Mr Osaafo-Maafo made the call when he chaired the Cocoa Investors’ Forum and meeting of Joint Technical Committee of Cote d’ Ivoire and Ghana held yesterday at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.
The forum sought to find ways of attracting private sector investments into the cocoa sectors of both Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire, which contribute about 60 percent of world raw cocoa beans but earn around $5 billion out of the $ 110 billion global cocoa market due to low value-addition and poor domestic consumptions.
A number of international financial and cocoa processing institutions, namely the World Bank, African Development Bank, China Development Bank, Standard Bank, World Cocoa Foundation, Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), attended the forum.
The Senior Minister said “the two countries should certainly have influence on the cocoa prices globally, we should have the OPEC type in the cocoa industry.”
There should be a strategy that may control quantities on the market at a time. Because for every commodity in the world, when there is too much of the product on the market, the price falls, when there is scarcity, the price goes up, he said.
“So between Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire, we should strategize such that even the flow on the market is somehow controlled by us in a way. It is very difficult because of the economy. You need the money. So we are always in a hurry to put the beans on the market but sometimes we do so hurting ourselves,” according to him.
“Now we are all talking about improving production. But the flipside is when cocoa production goes up, the price falls, but you need to also improve the production. So it is now up to us to strategize the release of this commodity on the market, we are in the boat together. We either float or sink.”
According to the Senior Minister, it was important for both countries to consider the issues of how to improve the lives of cocoa farmers, as well as improve the yields per acre in order to economize land use.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who delivered the keynote on the occasion, explained that improvements in the welfare of farmers across both countries will require improvement in farm produce, sustainable domestic and global prices, among others.
He said Ghana earns about $ 2.5 billion from cocoa annually even though the global market worth over $100 billion, stressing the need to increase domestic value-addition to enable the country, which is the second largest global producer of cocoa to maximize its gains from world cocoa trade.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), Yofi Grant, stressed that both nations must add value to establish their dominance in the world chocolate and cosmetics market.
He encouraged Ghanaians to produce cocoa products such as chocolate.