General News Thu, 25 Jul 2019
The Minority in Parliament has said cocoa farmers have become worse off under the Akufo-Addo government relative to Mahama’s.Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Thursday, 25 July 2019 in response to President Nana Akufo-Addo’s challenge to the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to provide evidence of a single policy the party introduced to boost the cocoa sector while in power, the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, said the government is swindling cocoa farmers.
In 2016, he explained, “We [NDC] sold a bag of cocoa for GHS475.00, a tonne of cocoa was sold at GHS7,600… At that time, the average world market price was GHS2,800, so, if you were to convert [it into dollars] using the exchange rate at the time, we were giving the cocoa farmer $2,000 per tonne.
“If you’re to translate that into Ghana cedis, it is GHS7,600, representing GHS475 per bag. For cocoa pricing, the higher the world market price, the lower the premium we pay. Clearly, if the world market price falls, then the premium goes up. So, in today’s price, the world market price is $2,500 per tonne and Ghana is attracting a premium of 250 pounds per tonne. If you’re to convert 250 pounds per tonne using the pound to the dollar exchange rate, it is 1.31. 1.31 will translate into $325 plus $2,500 will give you $2,825 per metric tonne.
“Unfortunately, they are giving the cocoa farmer only $1,400. We gave the cocoa farmer $2,000, so, for every tonne that they sell, the cocoa farmer is worse off by $600. They have taken $600 off the cocoa farmers money translating into GHS200 per bag. So, every bag the cocoa farmer sells, the government should have paid the farmer GHS675 but they are only paying GHS475. This means this government is reaping the cocoa farmer off and we don’t know where the money is going to…”