Government is expected to open the 2022/2023 cocoa crop season early this week with announcement of a new producer price as Pension Scheme for Cocoa farmers rolls out nationwide in October.

The Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), an independent campaign and advocacy platform for civil society actors in the cocoa sector wants Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to increase the Producer Price of Cocoa to ¢838 from current ¢660 a bag for the 2022/2023 crop season.

The group explains that, it’s working assumption of the Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC) of COCOBOD, which aims at ensuring that farm gate price is pegged at a minimum of 70% of the net Free on Board (FoB) price points that farmers should be receiving a minimum of ¢838 which translates into $98 per bag of the 62.5 kilogramme of cocoa beans.

Cocoa farmers gathered at a durbar in Suhum in Eastern region to climax the 2022 Cocoa Day celebration  held Friday October 1,2022 were disappointed that the new producer price for the crop season was not announced.

However, speaking on behalf of the sector Minister, the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture (Crops) Yaw Frimpong Addo urged the cocoa farmers to be patient as the producer price review committee concludes work for the determination of new producer price for the crop season to be announced early early this week.

“Exercise restraint as a new price will be announced early next week. It is because the committee has not concluded its work yet so we crave your indulgence our venerable farmers that early next week this announcement will be made and everybody will be happy” the Minister said

Some of the farmers told Starr News, late announcement of producer prices have always been to their disadvantage as cocoa buying companies with money buy the cocoa beans and hoard them for the new market price at the expense of the farmers.

Cocoa Pension Scheme

The Board Chairman of Ghana COCOBOD, Peter Mac Manu has disclosed that government will soon commence the rolling out of Pension Insurance Scheme for cocoa farmers in October this month in fulfilment of the promise made by the president Akufo Addo in the 2016 general elections.

“the rollout of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme begins this month, trustees and implementers of the scheme will be rolling out from district to district to register cocoa farmers to be part of the scheme , farmers are however encouraged to register to enjoy the benefit of the much awaited Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme”.

The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo- Addo , on Tuesday 1st December 2020 , launched a pension scheme for the country’s 1.5 million cocoa farmers at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi where he stated that  in recognition of their work, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) was mandated under Section twenty-six (26) of the COCOBOD Law, 1984 (PNDC L.81), to establish a Contributing Insurance Scheme for Cocoa Farmers within the framework of the Social Security Scheme , so that  they could also enjoy a well- deserved pension , upon retirement.

The Pension Scheme has been designed to enable cocoa farmers to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement, whilst COCOBOD makes a supplementary contribution on behalf of the farmers as well.

This year’s cocoa day celebration was on the theme “COCOBOD @ 75: Sustaining Our Environment, Wealth and Health.”

Various speakers including the Eastern regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong, Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, took turns to call on all Ghanaians to help government fight illegal mining which is threatening the sustainability of the cocoa sector.

Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin in his address noted that, the greatest threat to the cocoa value chain is the surge of illegal mining activities (galamsey), which he urged government to aggressively speed up strategies to urgently curb the menace.

“Government sit in Accra and embark on reclamation exercises on our lands meanwhile we the chiefs are not being include in the reclamation exercises , I don’t understand it , we need to fight the galamsey menace together , there is no chief who has money to buy an excavator , so it cannot be the case that you always  blame  we the chiefs , why should a farmer also give his land to illegal miners, when our water bodies are being destroyed and we the chiefs decided to fight these illegal miners by our own taskforce too they will accuse us of taking the law into our own land, but we the chiefs and the farmers need to participate in any decision to fight the galamsey activities , I want to ask that if these galamseyers activities are illegal why then should the government buy the gold “.

Okyenhene admonished COCOBOD and the government to revive the COCOBOD scholarship scheme to support children of cocoa farmers in their academic pursuits.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah