The government of Ghana has announced new cocoa farm gate prices for the 2023/2024 crop season. The announcement was made by the President, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo on Saturday 9th September 2023, at an event to officially open the 2023/2024 crop season in Tepa in the Ashanti Region. The new prices stand at GH¢20,943 (US$1,837) per tonne of cocoa beans equivalent to GH¢1,308 per 62.5kg bag of cocoa beans. The new prices represent a 63.5% upward adjustment of the 2022/2023 season prices of GH¢12,800 per tonne and GH¢800 per 62.5Kg bag of cocoa beans announced almost a year ago.

Speaking to stakeholders present, the President indicated that the new price is the highest to be paid to cocoa farmers in the West Africa sub region for the past 15 years and is intended to provide cocoa farmers with a fair and remunerative price for their efforts as well as improve their livelihoods.

The declaration of the new farm gate prices was met with huge cheers and celebrations by cocoa farmers present at the event which interrupted the President’s speech and signaled their satisfaction with the new prices. The implications of this price increase are both significant and a delight for Ghana’s cocoa farmers, who have been struggling to make a profit in recent years due to low prices and the high cost of production.

Although the new price is below what stakeholders of the Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) expected, some industry experts are confident that it will significantly help reduce the smuggling of cocoa beans to neighboring countries such as Cote D’Ivoire and Togo, who have reportedly been offering relatively higher prices for a bag of cocoa beans. According to Leticia Adu Yankey of the GCCP, “The difference in price has been closed and it won’t be profitable again to sell cocoa to Ivory Coast and Togo”. This will lead to an increase in the supply of cocoa beans in Ghana, which will benefit the country’s economy in the long run.

Notwithstanding that the upward adjustment of farm gate prices for the new season has been welcomed by many farmers, the government can do better to ensure cocoa farmers earn more considering the steadily rise of cocoa prices on the international market. The new farm gate price per tonne is way below prices on the international market. According to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), the cocoa futures market for July 2023 reached an average of US$3,425 per tonne ranging between US$3,221 and US$3,628 per tonne in the London market, representing 66.2% increase year-on-year. In New York, they averaged US$3,391 per tonne, oscillating between US$3,230 and US$3,559 per tonne, representing 46.5% rise year-on-year.

Cocoa farmers indeed deserve more than what they are being given. The new farm gate price increment would not bring a significant turnaround in the livelihoods of cocoa farmers especially amidst the tough economic conditions—unstable Ghanaian cedi, high inflation and increasing cost of farm inputs and labour—prevailing in the country, unless the government introduce complementary social programs that are implemented to improve the welfare and living conditions of cocoa farmers in cocoa growing communities.