Stakeholders in the cocoa value chain in Ghana have bemoaned the low level of impact of farmers on the Cocoa Producer Price Review Committee when it comes to the setting of farm gate prices for cocoa.
According to them even though farmers are represented on the committee, they don’t wield much power to influence the determination of the producer price of the commodity.
Cocoa farmers across Ghana have been complaining for some years now about the unchanging producer price of cocoa which has remained at GHS 7,600 per tonne since the 2016/2017 crop season.
The price is equivalent to GH¢475 per bag of 64 kg gross weight. While farmers are asking for a price increase, bodies like the International Monetary Fund have urged the government to reduce the producer price to reflect changes in international cocoa prices.
A position which the government of Ghana has refused to take. So what do farmers make of the current regime for determining farm gate prices and what can be done ensure cocoa farmers make a stronger input into the setting of producer price of cocoa in Ghana?
Professor Kwabena Anaman is the lead researcher for a new report on farm gate pricing and income of cocoa farmers in Ghana, and he has urged government and COCOBOD to consider including Civil Society organizations in the Cocoa producer price review committee to ensure that the interest of farmers is better protected.
“Cocoa farmers have some representation and as we suggested, probably they need to have more them on the price setting committees. And also maybe we need more of the CSO’s that work with the farmers also on those committees.”
On his part, the Deputy General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Andrews Tagoe, believes farm gate prices that reflect farmers output, can only be realized if farmers get an improved representation on the Cocoa Producer Price Review Committee.
“Government has its structures for fixing prices, and it is important that cocoa farmers understand these structures to contribute to the debate. And to do that effectively the farmers need a representation that is national in character.
In the cocoa value chain, industry appears to be very well organized when it comes to determining what they want. We as farmers must have an equally strong force to match government and industry.”
The “Farm gate Pricing and Income of Cocoa Farmers” report were facilitated by SEND Ghana, INKOTA, UTZ, and the Rainforest Alliance. For the conveners of the event, SEND-Ghana regardless of how much farmgate prices are increased farmers will continue to be worse off if fraudulent practices like weighing scale rigging continue unabated. He also added that transparency is key in getting farmers to collaborate with the government.
“What is done elsewhere and what we can do here is that apart from making a general announcement of the producer price, COCOBOD should look at also communicating the breakdown of how such a figure is arrived at to enhance transparency.”