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Cocoa producer price up 28%

BY: News Desk Report
 President Akufo-Addo with some members of the Regional House of Chiefs  of Western North
President Akufo-Addo with some members of the Regional House of Chiefs of Western North

The government has increased the cocoa producer price from GH¢8,240 to GH¢10,560 per tonne for the 2020/21 crop year.

The current increment, working out to 28 per cent over the previous year’s price, also translates into GH¢660 per bag of 64 kilogrammes.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, made the announcement at the Western North Regional capital, Sefwi Wiawso, yesterday, where he also launched the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.

“Nananom, beginning 1st October 2020, I am happy to announce the award of a new cocoa producer price of ten thousand, five hundred and sixty cedis (GH¢10,560) per tonne, equivalent to six hundred and sixty cedis (GH¢660) per bag for the coming 2020/21 crop year. This represents a hike of more than twenty-eight per cent (28 per cent) over the price obtained in the outgoing crop year of 2019/2020,” he said.

The President added that the current 2019/20 producer price of GH¢8,240 a tonne or GH¢514 per bag, was an 8.2 per cent increase over the 2018/2019 price of GH¢7,615 per tonne or GH¢475 per bag.

“By this new producer price, we have kept faith with our commitment under the international arrangement with Cote d’Ivoire and global stakeholders, by awarding to our farmers the full four $400 per tonne Living Income Differential (LID),” President Akufo-Addo said.

He stated that by that substantial increase in the producer price, the government was also delivering on its 2016 manifesto promise to reward handsomely the hard work of cocoa farmers and their unequalled contribution to the economy over the years.

Living Income Differential

Touching on the unstable nature of cocoa prices on the world cocoa market, President Akufo-Addo said: “It remains one of the biggest challenges to ensuring payment of decent farm-gate prices to our cocoa farmers.”

With Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire responsible for producing 65 of the raw cocoa beans used in making chocolates, the President bemoaned the fact that cocoa farmers from the two countries just earned $6 billion from an over $100 billion chocolate industry.

That, he explained, was the meagre return that hardworking farmers got from their toil.

“Government believes that value-addition to our cocoa, and the search for new markets will make us more money than all the aid given to us by all the donor countries. We shall gain some dignity, and spare the donors the fatigue we have all heard about,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo added that the rationale for the strategic partnership between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, the common initiative of President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and him, which was manifesting itself in a joint cocoa production and marketing policy, was already paying dividends.

He said the $400 per tonne LID was an additional earning from the world market price for cocoa farmers in both countries.

“The Living Income Differential is going to guarantee some stability to the producer price of cocoa and sustainability of the industry in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Medical drones

President Akufo-Addo also inaugurated the fourth medical drone distribution centre of Zipline in Sefwi Wiawso.

This brings to four the number of drone delivery services in the country for the distribution of medical supplies.

At the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said: “The launch of the fourth medical drone distribution centre, is part of our broader commitment to expanding the reach of this service, and ensuring that we do not leave anyone behind in access to essential medicines.

By this, it means that we now have the biggest medical drone delivery service in the whole world.”

“I am told that some 120,000 medical products have been delivered to several health facilities across the country from the various distribution centres. With the coming on stream of this fourth centre at Sefwi Wiawso, Zipline will be able to serve about 2,000 health facilities within their range,” he said.

Citing the example of one Charles Coffie, a 44-year-old driver in the Eastern Region, who was saved by the supply of emergency blood products after he suffered severe bleeding during an operation, the President stated that “this is the kind of impact we are talking about”.

400 Projects

In another development, President Akufo-Addo has stated that there are 400 projects being executed by his government in the Western North Region, with 197 completed and the remaining 203 ongoing.

He explained that out of the 197 completed projects, 52 were in the educational sector, 10 in the health sector, 16 in the road sector, and 67 in the water and sanitation sector.

President Akufo-Addo stated this when he inaugurated the newly constituted Western North Regional House of Chiefs in Sefwi Wiawso, on day one of his 3-day working visit to the Western North Region.

Shipment price maintained

Meanwhile, the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), the Ghana Shippers' Authority (GSA) and shipping lines ferrying Ghana's cocoa exports to the international market have agreed to maintain their cocoa freight charges for the 2020/2021 cocoa season, reports Maclean Kwofi.

The rate for shipment per tonne to the United Kingdom (UK) has been maintained at £30, to the Northern Continent at €49, to Estonia at €56, the Mediterranean Europe at €55, to the Far East at $89/94, and to Brazil at $103.

The bunker adjustment factor (BAF), additional price increases occasioned by changes in fuel prices while the shipment is en route, was also maintained by 27 per cent for all destinations but for the UK which was reduced to 25 per cent.

The rates were reached after negotiations and extensive deliberations on the future of the sector and how best to support one another amid the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on operations.

Some of the shipping lines that participated in the negotiations included Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), PIL Ghana Limited, Grimaldi Lines Ghana and ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Limited.

Announcement

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismarck, announced the outturn after the cocoa freight negotiation conference which was held for the second time in Accra yesterday.

She said the new rates were reached after negotiations with about 24 shipping lines upon consideration of the various issues raised during the deliberations.

She said looking at the prices of cocoa on the global market, it was important that the authority and the shippers took another look at the freight charges to ensure that Ghana did not suffer the bad effects.

Quality service

The Managing Director of Cocoa Marketing Company, Mr. Vincent Okyere Akomeah, observed that shipments for the just- ended 2019/2020 cocoa season were achieved through cooperation, support, collaboration and the quality services rendered to the industry.

"We therefore look forward to many years of mutually beneficial cooperation between our respective companies."

He said the companies shipped about 500,000 tonnes of cocoa during the 2019/2020 cocoa season, and added that it was significant to note that 52 per cent out of last year's volume was shipped from Takoradi, 42 per cent in Tema, and six per cent from Kumasi.

Call at Takoradi

Mr. Akomeah, therefore, urged other shipping lines to avail themselves to load cocoa from Takoradi.

"We are therefore encouraging as many shipping lines as possible to avail themselves to load cocoa from Takoradi. We are assuring you of incentives such as greater volumes and free empty container terminal at Kejebril.

“We are taking the issue of port tariff and charges with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) for vessels picking cocoa from Takoradi, and you will be informed accordingly about the outcome," he said.

The Head of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at GSA, Mr. Emmanuel Arku, also thanked the shipping lines for the services rendered to the industry.