The Majority in Parliament has called on cocoa farmers and Ghanaians to ignore lies it said were being peddled by the Minority National Democratic Congress.
According to the MPs elected on the platform of the New Patriotic Party, NPP, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Ghana Cocoa Board, COCOBOD, had never made any pronouncement on producer price of cocoa for this year.
The MPs, while addressing a press conference led by the Acting Chairman of Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of parliament, Kwame Asafu-Adjei, the minority’s claim that the CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, had said that producer price of cocoa for this year would not be increased while bonuses too would not be paid to cocoa farmers were concocted lies and propaganda.
According to Asafu-Adjei, who represents Nsuta-Kwamang-Beposo, it is only the Producer Price Review Committee which has the mandate to determine the price depending on the world price of cocoa and the prevailing economic conditions in the country.
“We’ll like to explain that as indicated in the statement of the minority at its press conference, the Producer Price Review Committee is the only body mandated by law to set the price of cocoa and the CEO of COCOBOD only reiterated that at various fora he has held with stakeholders in the industry”, he said.
The Majority also denied claims by the minority that the Stabilisation Fund was created by the immediate-past president, John Dramani Mahama in 2014 to help cushion cocoa farmers and add to the producer price of cocoa, if the prices on the world market fall.
“We want to put it on record that the Stabilisation Fund was established during the 2007/2008 crop season under former President Kufuor and not in 2014 as claimed by the minority. Government set up the Fund as part of measures to guarantee stable income for cocoa farmers. The Fund was meant to maintain the prevailing producer price in the event that the net Free On Board (FOB) price falls drastically as being experienced now, so that the government does not reduce the producer price of cocoa”, the MPs pointed out, adding that the creation of the Fund underpins government’s commitment to reduce the exposure of cocoa farmers to price volatility on the world cocoa market.
They also insisted that in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 crop seasons, the then NDC government did not increase producer price of cocoa because of the drastic fall in prices on the world market but used the Stabilisation Fund to maintain the producer prices.
“The producer price of GH¢7,600 per tonne of cocoa as announced at the beginning of the 2016/2017 crop season has not changed and will not be reviewed downwards as is being speculated, despite the drastic fall in the world price of cocoa from over $3,122 per tonne in June 2016 to $1,900 in June, 2017. The Stabilisation Fund is neither used to increase producer price nor pay bonuses as stated by the minority, but rather used as the name implies – to stabilise prices to farmers,” the Majority explained.