Deputy Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at Anyaa Sowutuom, Ralph Apetorgbor, has called out the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for stealing from cocoa farmers.
Reacting to the newly announced farmgate price for cocoa in Ghana, he expressed disappointment in government for ripping-off cocoa farmers of their deserved earnings despite the poor economic state of most cocoa farmers.
According to him, it is awfully wicked that, although international the Spot Price of cocoa has skyrocketed to $3,600 per metric ton, the NPP government has decided to just pay farmers GH¢1,308 per bag of cocoa keeping more than half of what they made from the international market.
“How is it not a rip-off? How can you keep GH¢1,516 and pay farmers a meagre amount of GH¢1,308 per bag? When the international spot price for cocoa has increased to a record high of $3,600 per metric ton.
…If this is not theft, then what is it? What this mean is that, government is keeping literally more than half of what it makes on the international market and give less to the farmers”, Ralph Apetorgbor explained on the GhanaWeb Weekend Wrap on Twitter/X-space.
The deputy communications officer believes that the new development if not addressed quickly may increase cases of cocoa smuggling and illegal mining on cocoa farms.
He explained, “It is shocking to know that now most cocoa farmers have sold their lands to galamseyers because they see the avenue as no longer lucrative and a lot more farmers would look at that option if this situation is not addressed quickly. I predict cocoa smuggling would also surge if care is not taken.”
Ghana has announced a state-guaranteed cocoa price paid to its farmers of 20,943 Ghana cedi ($1,837) per tonne for the new 2023-2024 season – an increase of more than 63% in a bid to boost their income and prevent beans from being smuggled to neighbouring countries where they sell for more.