Editorial by Ghanaian Times: Increase in cocoa price encouraging but …

A new price of GH¢1,308.00 for a bag of cocoa has been announced by the government to take effect from the 2023/2024 cocoa sea­son, and it is a 63.5 percent increase over the previous price of GH¢800.00.

Thus, the current price of a tonne increases from GH¢12,800.00 to GH¢ 20,943.00.

A media report states that it was all joy last Saturday in Tepa when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the new price of a program there.

According to the report, farmers thronged the front of the podium on which the President was speaking and expressed thunderous cheers for the new price.

The farmers have every cause to jubilate and we give the government all the commendation for the price increase because the price of cocoa has influenced efforts in its increased pro­duction since the colonial times.

It will be recalled that a coalition of British choc­olate manufacturers began buying cocoa beans in the country, led by WA Cad­bury, a subsidiary of Cad­bury Brothers.

Then in the 1930s, realis­ing the importance of co­coa to the lives of farmers and the country’s economy, the government took over the industry by setting up a body for a buying monop­oly.

The body, which meta­morphosed into the Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) in 1947, was meant to protect farmers from volatile price fluctuations and this encouraged more production, to the extent that once upon a time, the country was the world’s leading pro­ducer of cocoa after its first official export of two bags in 1893.

In the 1970s, even though the world price of cocoa fell by two-thirds, Ghanaian farmers expressed dissatis­faction with the nearly 40 percent of the world mar­ket price they were being offered.

As a result, some farmers stopped cultivating cocoa and that partly affected the country’s total yield at the world market and so lost its leading position there.

From the brief historical evidence we have provided and the expression of joy by farmers for the new price, we can see the price of cocoa playing a major role in its cultivation.

We know that the government is doing other things like subsidising the price of fertiliser for the cocoa farmers and spraying the cocoa trees, but it should continue to give a fair and remunerative price for farmers’ efforts and one, as usual, meant to improve their lives.

Probably that will encourage them to put in the ef­forts of old for the country to recapture its position as the leading producer of the agricultural products.

This is important because cocoa is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy and more yields of it, no doubt, will enhance the country’s economic growth.

We, however, wish to agree that all the threats to cocoa production in the country must be eliminated and these dangers are not limited to illegal mining and the smuggling of the beans to neighbouring countries.

Unchecked land acqui­sition by estate developers is an emerging danger that must be nipped in the bud.

The truth is that this industry has already started being a threat to agriculture production in the country and it is about time the government stepped in to control matters.

If this is not done, the whole agriculture industry will be in jeopardy and cocoa production cannot escape the brunt.

Source: Ghana Web