As the new cocoa season begins on Friday 8th September 2023, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is set to announce new cocoa farm gate prices for the 2023/2024 light crop season. In line with this, the Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) in a press conference on Wednesday in Accra has demanded a 72.5% increase in the cocoa farm gate price based on international market dynamics and local economic conditions. The group expects cocoa farmers to receive not less than GH₵22,080 per tonne of cocoa beans equivalent to GH₵1,380 per 62.5kg bag of cocoa beans.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Mrs. Leticia Yankey, a cocoa farmer and founder of Cocoa Mmaa stressed that increasing the farm gate price was very crucial and ideal to improve the living standards of cocoa farmers amidst the rising inflation and cost of living in the country; and also to curb the smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring countries such as Togo and Cote D’Ivoire due to the relatively high prices of cocoa in these countries.

“Based on the working assumption of Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC) which aims at ensuring that farm gate price is pegged at a minimum of 70% of the net free on board (FoB) price of cocoa beans, GCCP is of the firm opinion that farmers in Ghana should be receiving a minimum of GH₵22,080 per tonne which is equivalent to GH₵1,380 per 62.5kg bag of cocoa beans. This figure was arrived at using the lowest projected values available including the Living Income Differential (LID) of US$400 per tonne”, she said.

According to the group, their pricing demand is based on modest estimates and very conservative which COCOBOD should be able to meet with ease. Therefore any pricing below this projection will not be in the interest of cocoa farmers.

“We arrived at this modest expectation taking note of the prevailing international market dynamics which have led to over 35% increment in the ICCO world cocoa market price as well as the challenges pose by the unstable Ghanaian cedi, high inflation, high cost of labour and most importantly the need for farmers to be paid adequate and commensurate prices for their efforts” she explained.

Speaking on the smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring countries, Mrs. Yankey argued that the smuggling of cocoa from Ghana to Cote D’Ivoire and Togo was due to the liberalized cocoa marketing approach in these countries which makes it possible for prices of cocoa to be upwardly adjusted following increment in international cocoa market price.

“At some point this year, a bag of cocoa was selling in Togo at GH₵1,500 equivalent, twice what Ghanaians were being paid which fueled cocoa smuggling as some farmers were offered 30-40 percent beyond the prevailing market price in Ghana” she added.

COCOBOD is expected to announce a new farm gate price of cocoa beans on Saturday 9th September 2023, at an event to launch the 2023/2024 cocoa crop season. The last time the government increased farmgate prices was in October 2022 where the farm gate price was increased by 21 percent from GH₵660 to GH₵800 per 62.5kg bag of cocoa.