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Business News of Friday, 26 April 2019

Source: kasapafmonline.com

We can’t reduce cocoa producer price – COCOBOD to IMF

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says it will maintain the current producer price of cocoa despite International Monetary Fund (IMF) call for an adjustment by the government.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the government to adjust the producer price of cocoa to reflect changes in international cocoa prices.

According to the IMF, the downward adjustment had become necessary because the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) was grappling with a funding gap of GH¢1billion due to the government’s inability to reduce producer prices paid to cocoa farmers at a time global prices of the crop had been falling.

In its seventh and eighth review `documents under the recently concluded the External Credit Facility (ECF) Programme, the IMF explained that the adjustment was needed to save COCOBOD from the expanding financing gap.
The fund said although the government and COCOBOD were taking appropriate measures to provide some temporary relief, “more is needed to strengthen COCOBOD’s financial position.”

But in an interview with sit-in host Akwasi Nsiah on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM, the manager in charge of the Ghana Cocoa Board CEO’s office, Fiifi Boafo insisted the current threshold cannot be reviewed downward to the disadvantage of the poor farmers who are already complaining of the price.

“It’ll not be in our interest to reduce the price to impoverish the farmers. They have contributed their quota to the development of the nation and we must shore up to keep them afloat. Secondly, we’re losing our cocoa lands to illegal small scale miners(galamsey). You’ll realised that most of the cocoa growing areas are enclaves where there are increased activities of illegal mining. The illegal miners are lobbying out the poor farmers to take over their cocoa farms for their activities. If the local farmers are losing out in the cocoa farming, there is good motivation for them to release their lands to the galamseyers and make good money instead of the peanuts they get from the farming because of low prices. This consequently is a threat to the sustainability of Cocoa production in the country.

He added: Eventhough we are struggling to support farmers, the government and COCOBOD are poised to give the farmers a relief and find other means to clear the funding gap.”