7 December 2017

Liberia: Bad Roads, Unfavorable Price Hamper Cocoa Sector

Photo: Monica Mark/IRIN
(File photo).

As harvesting and selling of cocoa increases, farmers and dealers are complaining of the deplorable roads across the county as well as the primary roads connecting Grand Gedeh which are impediments to the sector.

According to George Howard, a cocoa dealer in Nimba, cocoa is being sold for L$175 per kilogram or US$1.48 and the price is expected to climb.

He said however that transporting cocoa from the bush to Ganta remains one of the greatest challenges to the sector because the roads, including the primary and secondary ones, are all bad.

"We are facing problems because of the bad roads and the current exchange rate in the market," he said.

David Gbeadeh, a cocoa farmer, told this paper, due to the bad conditions, cocoa buyers are not offering prices to their satisfaction.

Nimba is one of Liberia's leading cocoa-producing counties

"By this time last year, we were offered L$ 200 per kilogram, but now they shifting all the blame on the bad road condition to reduce the price," he said.

"This main road from Ganta to Grand Gedeh is a challenge for the movement of cocoa, but the farm to market roads are not too bad compared to the main road," Napoleon Brewer, another farmer added.

Nimba is one of the leading cocoa producing counties, especially in the areas bordering the Ivory Coast.

Last year the prices of cocoa went up very high in the Liberian market, prompting the Ivorian farmers to shipped their cocoa to Liberia.

Cocoa season begins in July every year, but at a small scale and around October to December, the harvest increases. By January, it drops completely, but Howard said the cocoa season will likely extend to February, due to a new farming method.

Liberia does not have any factory where cocoa is processed, something farmers are yearning for. The raw cocoa is exported to other countries which process and sell cocoa products on the world market.

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