Business News of Wednesday, 27 September 2017
The failure of the Mahama administration to take advantage of the London Market’s $3000 price per metric tonne of cocoa while in government has led to Ghana losing $1billion every year due to the fall in cocoa prices on the international market, Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said.
“The last four years of the NDC administration, we had the benefit of the historical $3000 per metric tonne on the London market. And I was screaming on the floor of parliament that we should take full advantage of that and make sure that we rehabilitate our cocoa industry and do our processing and all that; and they let it pass with corruption and wastage in the system and now in the last time prices have collapsed from the $3000 plus to less $1,900 so Ghana is losing more than $1billion a year just by this form. So, it’s a big challenge for us,” Dr Afriyie Akoto told Francis Abban in an interview on Accra-based Starr FM.
He said the failure of the Mahama government to ride on the high London Market price has led to the inability of the Akufo-Addo government to fulfil its promise of increasing the producer price for framers.
“While this was going on, we were campaigning that when we came into office we were going to increase the producer price because we were never happy that prices were at $3000 and what the farmer was getting was peanuts as far as we were concerned.
“So, we were going around campaigning that we were going to increase the producer price. [But things have changed] drastically. We are not reneging [on that promise], we are saying that we won’t reduce the price, we will maintain that price,” he said.
According to him, the promise to increase the producer price was “based on $3000 [per metric tonne price]. Now we are talking about $1,900, you cannot just say that it’s the same. It cannot be, you understand. The basis was that it was the same $3000 so it was going to give us that magnitude to be able to increase that price, that has disappeared and gone beyond. Now the producer price is almost equal to the world price so how do you survive without reducing? Ivory Coast cut their price in half and reduced it by another 30%. So, what we are doing is to make the savings.”