The Minority in parliament led by Samson Ahi has accused government of stealing from cocoa farmers in the country with the decision not to increase the producer price for the 2017/2018 cocoa season.
He claims the stabilization fund set up by the previous government should be enough to cushion the farmers against any fall in the price of cocoa on the world market.
Government has maintained the producer price of cocoa at GH¢7,600.00 per tonne, equivalent to GH¢475 per 64-kilogram gross weight bag.
Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said a decision was made to maintain the price despite the general decline in cocoa prices on the international market.
Cocoa prices on the global market have in recent months been on a rapid decline notably, hitting a ten year low of $1,900 from a peak of $3,000 per tonne – a development that has forced some cocoa producing countries to cut the producer prices paid to farmers.
This has not gone down well with some cocoa farmers and the Minority side of parliament. They have held a press conference in the in the Bodi constituency questioning why government will not use the stabilization fund to prop up the bonuses and producer price of cocoa in such times.
NDC MP for the area Samson Ahi said the fund was specifically set up for this purpose, and on an annual basis, 150 million dollars was deposited into it, “that money should be available so that if the price of cocoa has gone down on the world market, government can tap into it”.
He continued that Ghana exceeded its target of cocoa production in the 2016/2017 cocoa season by 210 thousand metric tons and the sale of the surplus cocoa should provide enough funds to increase the producer price of the commodity even if the prices on the world margin has dipped.
There was a target of 750 thousand metric tons and the volume produced was 960 thousand metric tons.
“Government is just stealing from the cocoa farmers because if you have additional revenue from 210 thousand metric tons, how is the government going to spend that additional revenue?” Mr Ahi queried.
An aggrieved cocoa farmer who spoke at the press conference called on government to reconsider the sale of fertilizers at half price since most farmers are unable to afford them.