The General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU), is asking the government to stop comparing Ghana to Cote D’Ivoire when it comes to the production and pricing of cocoa.
According to Edward Kareweh, cost of living and the expenditure of farmers within the two countries are different, hence using one as the yardstick for the other is unacceptable.
Speaking on the AM Show on JoyNews, Mr. Kareweh stressed that the current increase in cocoa price for the 2023/2024 season is nothing to write home about.
“The agricultural sector is so pathetic. Why do we think that when we increase producer price more than Cote D’Ivoire it should be something to be celebrated.
“The farmer in Ghana does not live in Cote D’Ivoire, and does not spend in Cote D’Ivoire. The farmer in Ghana will look at his income, his expenditure. If the expenditure is very high and you even now want to say, ‘I have done you good and you are better of because your income is higher than that of Cote D’Ivoire or another country’, think about cost of living.
“So I don’t know where this comparism is coming from,” he stressed.
This assertion follows the increase in price of a bag of cocoa from GH¢800 to GH¢1,308 for the 2023/2024 season.
Currently, a tonne of the commodity will sell at GH¢20,943 from GH¢12,800.
This represents a 63.5% increase in the cost of the cash crop, the highest in the last 15 years across the West African sub-region.
The price is 70.5% of the gross Free on Board (FOB) price and equivalent to $1,821 per tonne.
While this development has been lauded by a section of Ghanaians, others led by the opposition NDC insist the price could have been more.
In a post of social media, former President, John Dramani Mahama, described the government’s announcement of an increase in the farm-gate price of cocoa as a rip-off of farmers and their families.
But the governing NPP insists all stakeholders in the cocoa industry, including farmers and the Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), have expressed joy and satisfaction with the new price
However, GAWU maintains that the government must stop the defense and address the issues of cocoa farmers.
“We always look for excuses instead of solving the problem. I am Ghanaian and I live in Ghana, some of our farmers don’t even know where Cote D’Ivoire is so what is this comparism between Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.
“But then they will say that when the price is high it will prevent farmers from smuggling their cocoa to Cote D’Ivoire. It is because price is at the end of the whole equation but it all starts with production.”
Mr. Kawereh added that farmers in Ghana still use the traditional means of harvesting and drying the cocoa beans, which if not addressed by government will result in other countries overtaking Ghana when it comes to the production of cocoa.
“From I think, two or three years back, there was a whole concern about the Chinese getting involved in cocoa production and it was like Ghana will lose a lot and I said ‘why not?’
“Look at the way we have been producing cocoa in this country. Today as we speak we don’t even have a simple machine that will assist farmers so that when they harvest their cocoa pods they can just pour it there and the machine will scoop out the beans.
“In fact, if you have thousand pods, you have to count them one by one by breaking through them with your cutlass to scoop out the beans.
“We can’t continue cocoa production like this when a country can just modernize their system and be ahead of us.”
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