Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire Team Up To Address Price Volatilities of Cocoa – Akufo-Addo reveals

The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire can no longer bear the brunt of price vitalities on the international cocoa market after contributing for more than 60% of the commodity’s output.

The two countries, he revealed, have been in touch with each other with aim of ensuring that they do not become victims of price volatilities of cocoa on the world market.

“One of the greatest threats to the cocoa industry in Ghana today is not disease or pest. Price volatilities on the international cocoa market represent, perhaps, the biggest threat to our cocoa. The prices of cocoa beans have plummeted, and have been forecast to remain low till the year 2020. The fortunes of our farmers, unfortunately, have become tied to the volatile cocoa bean market. That is why the two largest producers of cocoa in the world, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, have now decided to co-operate in ensuring that we do not continue to be victims or pawns of a global cocoa industry that is dependent on the work of our farmers,” he noted.

He added “I have, since assuming office, worked closely with His Excellency Alassane Outtara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, to provide the necessary leadership for technical and political co-operation that addresses effectively the international cocoa price decline in the short-to-medium term. We are fashioning far reaching policies towards achieving a shared vision of an industrialized and prosperous domestic cocoa economy. This, I am sure, will reduce our vulnerability to the volatility of the markets, and help deliver prosperity to our farmers and peoples.”

President Akufo-Addo revealed this, Monday, when he addressed thousands of cocoa farmers and other stakeholders in the cocoa industry at an event marked to celebrate this year’s World Cocoa Day in Kumasi, capital of the Ashanti Region.

Continuing, President Akufo-Addo reiterated that the two countries account for more than 60% of the world’s cocoa output, emphasizing that Ghana in 2015 earned US$2billion from the sale of the commodity whereas Cote d’Ivoire bagged US$3.75billion same period, bringing to total US$5.75billion.

“And, yet, the chocolate market was worth some US$100 billion in 2015. It means that the farmers whose toil and sweat produced 60% plus of the world’s cocoa, earned 5.75% of the global value of their activity. This cannot, and should not continue. It is manifest injustice. We have to devise ways of ensuring that our farmers reap much greater value from their toil,” he stressed.

To this end, he said he has told the Minister for Food and Agriculture to direct COCOBOD to work towards increasing domestic processing of cocoa up from the current levels to a minimum of 50% of annual production by 2020, believing that “This will significantly increase export revenues and foreign exchange earnings from cocoa.”

“Processing of cocoa must also go beyond just grinding of the beans to tertiary manufacturing for table consumption. Chocolate and cocoa products from Ghana should be accessible anywhere on the globe. As part of the 1-District-1-Factory programme, COCOBOD, and other private sector actors, will roll-out programmes that create small-scale cocoa processing industries across the cocoa-growing districts of our country. I challenge our enterprising youth to take advantage of this opportunity.

“The export market, nonetheless, must not be the sole focus for increasing the processing of our cocoa. The health benefits of cocoa are enormous. Ghana produces the best cocoa, which has strong nutritional value, and it is time that our consumption increases in our own backyard. Currently, per-capita consumption of cocoa in Ghana stands at 0.5 kilogram. This should increase to one kilogram per Ghanaian in the short-to-medium term.”