A flag bearer-hopeful of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor Joshua Alabi, has promised Ghanaian cocoa farmers the highest prices should he become president.
His promise comes a day after Ivory Coast raised the guaranteed price it pays farmers by 7 per cent to 750 CFA francs ($1.34) per kilogramme for the 2018/19 main crop, while Ghana kept its price flat. Ghana’s government said it would not change the farmgate price it pays cocoa farmers, maintaining it at 7.6 cedis ($1.53) per kg.
The rare move by the world’s two biggest cocoa producers which between them produce about 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa to announce their prices on the same day was the first step towards an eventual harmonisation of prices they hope will enable them to run an OPEC-like cartel.
“The guaranteed price for the whole territory is fixed at 750 CFA per kilogramme for this season. No changes will be tolerated,”Cocoa Board (CCC) Chairman Lambert Kouassi Konan announced at a ceremony to mark the start of the season.
Output this season is expected to be unchanged from the 2017/18 season at just under 2 million tonnes, Konan said. Figures from the CCC on Friday showed arrivals at ports had reached 1.938 million tonnes between 16 September and 1 October this season, down 2 per cent from 1.978 million tonnes in the same period last season.
Campaigning in cocoa-growing area Sefwi Akotombra in the Western Region on Monday, 1 October 2018, the presidential hopeful said: "Quality products attract the best price in every market. Our cocoa beans being described as the best in the world, therefore, means we must get the best price in the world market. Ghana getting the best price in the world market means we must pay our farmers the best price among their contemporaries".
Prof Alabi also advised the government to review the package given to farmers, especially cocoa growers, as he empathised with them.
"I am a son of a farmer. I grew up in the farm. I worked on the farm. That was our source of income as a family. So, if buyers are paying unattractive prices for our crops, it hurts. It throws our budget out of gear and destabilises the family. This is why I am asking that the government reconsiders its decision," he admonished.
He further emphasised the need for better pricing and payment to cocoa farmers.
"The sweetness of labour is wages. So, those sitting in Accra and determining how we should live should first tell us if they have not received salary increases since 2016," he entreated.