MP calls for protection of cocoa farmers from market manipulation

Monday 17th February, 2020
Dr Kwaku Afriyie67

By Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Member of Parliament for Sefwi Wiawso, has called for the strengthening of measures to protect cocoa farmers from undue price and market manipulation so as to get enough rewards for their toils.

Without mentioning names, he said there were some nine companies that had formed a cartel and manipulating the marketing sector of the cocoa industry, and “we the producers must take steps to ensure that our farmers benefit from their toils.”

Dr Afriyie said this in an interview with journalists after contributing to a statement on the floor of Parliament to mark this year’s National Chocolate Day.

The MP was clear that foreign companies had no business hiding behind mainstream cocoa price negotiations to deprive hardworking farmers and producing countries of what was rightly due them.

The MP, a former Western Regional Minister, praised Ghanaian cocoa farmers for keeping the industry afloat and maintaining the nation’s position as the best producer of quality cocoa worldwide.

He commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the collaboration under a strategic partnership entered into by Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to guarantee a Living Income Differential (LID) of UD$400 per tonne to be paid to farmers.

The payment goes to all categories of cocoa beans from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire starting from the 2020/2021 crop season.

President Akufo-Addo had noted that with Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire responsible for 65 per cent of the world’s output of cocoa, and with the global chocolate industry worth some 100 billion dollars, it was not right that the farmers got only six billion dollars for their effort.

Dr Afriyie, himself a cocoa famer, said about 50 million people are engaged in cocoa production worldwide and wondered why a few people would form a cartel and manipulate the market by creating artificial glut and shortages to the disadvantage of majority of producers.

Dr Afriyie described chocolate as symbolising Ghana, which has earned a cultural identity for the nation.

Aside chocolate, other cocoa products have health benefits as reducing sugar levels and improving dental and cardiovascular health.

He described the Sefwi Wiawso Constituency as the area with the largest per square mile producer of cocoa worldwide.

Dr Afriyie called for other beverages in Ghana to be substituted with cocoa products as way of ensuring import substitution and appealed to all MPs and stakeholders to sustain efforts at getting better prices for cocoa and its products.

Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyesi, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said apart from being the leading foreign exchange earner, the many uses of cocoa, including being used for cosmetics and liqueur, made it an important national product, which required utmost attention for the nation to derive the expected benefits.

She commended government for the efforts of mass spraying, cocoa pollination and effective quality control in sustaining the industry and called for cocoa drinks to be used for all national school feeding programmes.

Mrs Oteng-Gyasi used the occasion to stress on the need “drink, eat, and wear Ghana’’ as way of contributing to achieving the Ghana beyond Aid agenda.

The 2020 edition of the National Chocolate Day was observed on the theme: “My Chocolate Experience, My Holistic Well-being.”

The Ghana Tourism Authority instituted the day in 2005, in partnership with the Ghana Cocoa Board and the Cocoa Processing Company to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

It is to raise awareness of the need to patronise cocoa products as a means of helping generate more revenue for national development and general well-being.

GNA