The National Executives of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (GCCSFA) has expressed gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for maintaining the producer price of cocoa despite the IMF suggestion that it should be reviewed downwards.
The IMF says COCOBOD should review the producer price of cocoa downwards to reflect changes in international cocoa prices, adding, the downward adjustment would help COCOBOD deal with its current funding gap of GHC1 billion.
However, the government has said it would maintain the producer price of cocoa despite the downward changes of cocoa prices on the international market.
Alhaji Imoro Issifu Alhassan, the spokesperson of GCCSFA, gave the commendation on Friday, when the Association called on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House, Accra.
The producer price of cocoa was last increased in October 2016 by 11.76% to cover the 2016/2017 season and had remained unchanged since at GH¢7,600 per tonne, translating into GH¢475 per bag of 64 kilogrammes (kg) gross weight.
Since then the price of cocoa on the international market had suffered volatility, dropping from an average of US$2,500 per tonne in November 2016 and ending that at US$2,287 per tonne, the same year, according to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO).
Alhaji Alhassan said the Association, which has a membership of 952,000 farmers, was increasingly getting worried with the fall of cocoa prices on the international market despite the numerous interventions the government was making in the sector.
He commended the government for the fight against galamsey, which he said had taken most of the cocoa lands, and the implementation of the Free SHS policy which had saved members from paying school fees of their wards amidst the financial challenges facing them.
The Association, he said, was also grateful to COCOBOD for the introduction of the hand pollination, which had increased the yield and also provided jobs to many of the rural folks.
The Association, however, pleaded with the government to expedite the passage of the legislation that seeks to establish an authority to care of Coffee and Sheanuts in the country.
Alhaji Alhassan also pleaded with the government to make due to a request they put to the previous government, 6 years ago, to supply them with solar lights and lamps, and mosquito nets.
President Akufo-Addo in response said the decision the government took to maintain the producer price of cocoa is a question of "social justice", adding, "Your concerns must be the concerns of any meaningful government in Ghana."
He said it made sense that the government protected critical sectors of the economy when things went bad in other not to further compound the challenges in that sector.
The President said Ghana and La Cote d'Ivoire were committed to working together to determine cocoa prices on the international market in other to benefit substantially from the huge profits in that sector.
On the issue of the establishment of the Coffee and Sheanuts Authority, President Akufo-Addo assured that Parliament would consider and hopefully pass the legislation establishing the Authority when it resumes next month.