The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has accused European companies that buy cocoa beans from Ghana and the Ivory Coast of deliberately setting conditions that always keep the global prices of cocoa beans down.
According to him, cocoa farmers from the two countries have been made worse off due to the unfair pricing regime dictated by European countries.
Speaking to some European companies that purchase cocoa beans from Ghana, Mr. Boahen Aidoo said Ghana and Ivory Coast will join forces to end the practice where the two countries are forced to always accept prices set by European companies.
“As we speak, there is a huge shortage of the commodity in both countries for supply; but still, prices are down. When there is surplus, prices are down; when there is a deficit, prices remain low”.
“These occurrences are baffling and we must interrogate them. This also informs us that there are some kind of deliberate attempts and schemes to keep the prices down by global actors”, he said.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo lamented that the most important part of the whole cocoa value chain – the cocoa farmer has been relegated to the back, worsening their living conditions.
“We have to look for a more thriving and sustainable industry to bring into focus the farmer who is at the center-stage of production”, he said, adding that the entire industry risks collapsing if the cocoa farmers’ operations are not prioritised.
According to Mr. Boahen Aidoo, even though Ghana and Ivory Coast produce premium cocoa beans in the world, the high quality of the beans is not computed in the price build-up.
He stated for example that an attempt to remove premium prices on cocoa is disappointing since it may cause farmers from the two countries to lower the quality of beans produced in the region.
“We believe that we have a peculiar quality in Ghana and Ivory Coast so that over the years, industry has paid premium for that. Now the premium is being discounted and it is very disheartening to see premium being discounted.”
“What it means is that once premiums are discounted then the industry is telling us to inform our farmers to also discount the quality of the cocoa, but I don’t think that is what the consumer wants”, he said.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo argued that the extra efforts made by COCOBOD and farmers to maintain a certain level of quality for buyers of cocoa beans should rather encourage stakeholders in Europe to pay more to keep the standard.
He regretted that even though beans from Ghana and Ivory Coast are the best in the world, cocoa farmers from the two countries are among the poorest in the cocoa value chain.
Meanwhile, Mr. Boahen Aidoo stressed the need for the full implementation of the Living Income Differential of $400 per tonne for cocoa farmers.
According to him, stakeholders in the cocoa value chain must begin to see farmers as the most important players in the industry.