The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has refuted claims by former President John Mahama, that the new cocoa producer price of Ghc1,308 was a plot by government to swindle Ghanaian farmers. The Board insists that the calculations of the former President using the current International Market Price of cocoa at $3,600 per tonne is erroneous.
In a press statement, the Ghana Cocoa Board noted that their attention has been drawn to some discrepancies in a social media post of the former State-man in relation to the announced cocoa producer price.
The statement further stated that whilst Mr. Mahama appears to be advocating for the welfare of the hard-working Cocoa farmers, he must approach the issues in good faith and consider the broader contest before passing his final judgement.
The statement further indicates that, as a former first gentlemen of the country, he is expected to be familiar with the processes of determining the producer price of cocoa.
Read Statement Below:
OPEN LETTER TO FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA
Dear Mr. Mahama,
I have read your post on social media following the announcement of the Producer
Price of cocoa, and it has become imperative to address certain misconceptions and
misinformation arising from your post. While advocating for the welfare of our
hard-working cocoa farmers is essential, it is equally important to approach the issue in
good faith and consider the broader context before passing judgement.
Since you have had the privilege of being in government before as the number one
gentleman of the country, it is expected that you would be familiar with the process for
determining the producer price of cocoa. I am, therefore, surprised that you chose,
rather erroneously, to use the current international market price of cocoa at $3,600 per
tonne as the basis for your calculation in your post on the recently announced producer
- You are fully aware that Ghana’s cocoa beans are mostly sold forward. This means
that the 2023/24 crop was sold between October 2022 and March 2023 at
international prices; ranging between $2,200 per tonne and $2,400 per tonne. The
international price of cocoa then began to increase in April 2023, when a greater
percentage of the 2023/24 crop had already been sold.
- The forward sale strategy enables COCOBOD to give farmers a guaranteed producer
price and raise the syndicated loan offshore to pay farmers promptly for their
- The international price of cocoa as alluded to is quoted on a CIF (Cost, Insurance
and Freight) basis, which includes insurance and freight, albeit COCOBOD receives
only the FOB price (which is the cost of beans only). Insurance and freight are
received by the insurance companies and shipping lines respectively.
- Additionally, Mr. Mahama, Ghana produces both the Main Crop size category of
beans (big-sized cocoa beans) and the Light Crop size category of beans
(small-sized cocoa beans). The light crop beans are sold at a discount; ranging from
20% to 40% on the international market. The FOB price received by COCOBOD from
the international market is therefore the weighted average price of both the main
crop and light crop beans. This situation depresses the average weighted FOB price
received by COCOBOD for the two crop categories (main and light crop beans)
which form the basis for the determination of the producer price for cocoa.
- For the 2023/24 season, the weighted average FOB achieved by COCOBOD was
$2,600 per tonne.
- Contrary to your assertion that the producer price of GH₵1,308 per bag for the
2023/24 season is paltry, the current producer price translates to $1,821 per tonne,
which is 70.03% of the Gross FOB of $2,600 per tonne.
- In the 2015/16 season, the NDC-led administration announced a producer price of
GH₵6,800 per tonne. This was 61.71% of the gross FOB of $2,900 per tonne at the
time, not the 66.06% as you alluded. This cannot be said to be better than the
70.03% achieved for the 2023/24 season.
It is significant to note that the operational cost of COCOBOD for the 2023/24 season is
about 4% of the gross FOB, hence, the rest of the share of the FOB goes into industry
LBC margins, and transportation. Generally, the operational cost of COCOBOD has
hovered around 4% to 5% of gross FOB since the NPP took over government.
It is also worth noting that the government, through COCOBOD, has invested heavily in
productivity-enhancement programmes such as mass spraying, pruning, hand
pollination, rehabilitation of diseased farms and the subsidized fertilizer programmes.
The implementation of the productivity-enhancement programmes has led to an
increase in the productivity of cocoa farms from an average of 450 kilos per hectare in
the 2015/16 season to an average of 650 kilos per hectare in the 2022/23 season. This
has led to an increase in the income of cocoa farmers. It is my considered view that this explanation would be a useful guide and source of
information in your future engagements on the topic.
Your friend and former colleague,
HON JOSEPH BOAHEN AIDOO