ACCRA, (Xinhua) --
There is the gradual convergence of opinions on the
need for a national dialogue over the producer price of cocoa Ghana
pays its farmers in the face of dipping global prices.
Edward Kareweh, General Secretary of the General Agricultural
Workers Union (GAWU) of Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), said such
a national conversation should not only determine the pricing of the
commodity in-country but also to redefine the role of cocoa in the
country’s economy in general.
Kareweh described as “great at the time” the decision by government
to maintain prevailing prices when other cocoa producing countries
had slashed their producer prices in line with the drop in world
market price for the commodity.
“It showed our willingness to ensure that the farmers are not
directly affected by the vagaries of the global arena,” the trade
unionist said in a telephone interview with Xinhua.
He was however of the belief that this was not going to be
sustainable since if the prices continued to fall, then government
would also have to change its stance
In spite of the fall in global prices, Kareweh admonished government
not “to touch the current prices so as to inspire confidence in the
“However if government sees the dire need to review prices it should
revert to the Producer Price Setting Committee which is made up of
representatives of all major stakeholders to justify why this must
be done,” he urged.
Cocoa prices on the world market have dropped from a high of 2,287
US Dollars per metric ton around December 2016 to as low as the
current price of 1,800 dollars per metric ton with Ghana still
paying 7,600 Ghana cedis or 1,687 dollars per metric ton as producer
price to farmers.
“The current world market prices are not going to stay the same
forever and so all the investments government has been making into
the industry should be considered on long-term basis since they are
bound to yield the positive dividends once the prices begin to
increase,” Kareweh argued.
He urged for a diversified agricultural sector so that the impact
price shocks from the world cocoa buyers on the economy can be
Cocoa pricing has over the years played a part in the political
rhetorics in election years in Ghana as the two major parties New
Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC)
challenge each other as to which of them served best the interest of
“It is really a quandary: if you have cocoa prices from 2,900
dollars a ton and it is now down to 1,800 dollars per ton and you
have pegged your producer price at 7,600 cedis, you have a problem.
Can the country continue to subsidize that? “ Minister for Finance
Kenneth Ofori-Atta said.
Cocoa is Ghana’s largest foreign exchange earner with the annual
syndicated loan from foreign banks helping to cushion the local cedi
currency against the major international currencies.
Since Cocoa pricing is such a fundamental question, the minister
said there was the need for a national conversation where some real
sober minds would have to think through how to liberalize the
Ofori-Atta could not confirm whether government intended to slush
the producer prices any time soon.
Ghana and its western neighbor Cote d’Ivoire have established joint
cooperation on cocoa with the aim of seeking to influence the
direction of decisions of global stakeholders on the commodity,
especially those which affect pricing of the commodity as the two
countries account for more than 60 percent of total global output