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“Cocoa Farmers Are Going Hungry Day By Day” – CCSR

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Cocoa farmers in Ghana have warned that the country could lose more productive cocoa farms to illegal mining if cocoa prices remain unchanged.

The call comes after the Coalition for Cocoa sector Reforms(CCSR)  held several consultative forum with farmers across the region in the country.

In a statement sighted by MyGhanaMedia.com, the executives of CCSR said that the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD ) and the government have a golden opportunity to increase the producer price to demonstrate their commitment to preserving the cocoa sector as a major contributor to the national economy.

 

“It is important to note that the significant changes in the economic parameters of the country which has always been the driver for public sector workers demand for salary increments and cost of living allowances have same impact on the socio-economic life of farmers too. Cocoa farmers are going hungry day by day as regulatory mismanagement and corruption continues to hurt production and farmer’s income. Though the industry is a major source of our foreign exchange for this country, its farmers continue to be at the mercy of government in producer price determination.”

 

“we wish to emphasize for the attention of COCOBOD and for that matter government that, cocoa farmers are growing poorer and poorer and are now more vulnerable than ever before. They deserve no less than 100% increase in farm gate price beginning the 2022/23 season. This implies no less an amount than GH¢ 21,120.00 per tonne or GH¢ 1,320.00 per bag from the GH¢ 10,560 per tonne and GH¢ 660 per bag respectively offered in the 2020/21 season”

 

 

The Coalition for Cocoa sector Reforms (CCSR) an advocacy group for the vulnerable cocoa farmer and industry, is also  calling on the government to place a ban on mining activities in cocoa growing areas in the country.

 

The groups said today, due to the deteriorating living conditions of cocoa farmers caused by the factors enumerated above, farmers under compelling circumstances sell out their cocoa farms to illegal small scale mining (galamsey) operators.

 

The illegal miners are buying and destroying cultivated lands, forest, living quarters and water bodies, the group added.

 

It is predictable that should this trend continue, galamsey activities may throw farmers away from their homes few years to come.

 

The forestry commission, minerals commission, our chiefs are all expressing innocence in face of the menace.

 

“We hereby recommend that the government takes the following policy decision seriously. Government must issue one year moratorium for the cessation of all mining activities being it large scale, small scale mining and illegal mining activities in Ghana as a show of seriousness for the fight against galamsey.”

 

“The minerals commission must carry out an assessment of permits and concession lands of license holder for publication. All degraded lands and withdraw licenses of entities falling foul to standard mining practice.

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“Prosecute and fine all companies who carried out their activities without reclamation and without requisite permit.

“Educate and empower Chiefs, District Assemblies and Community Members to monitor and safeguard the re-entry of the illegal activities in their areas of jurisdictions.”

 

 

 

 

 

Read the full statement below :

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we welcome you all.

The Coalition for Cocoa sector Reforms(CCSR) an advocacy group for the vulnerable cocoa farmer and industry is here to make the voice of the sector players especially the farmer heard. The coalition having held several consultative forum with farmers across the region, have gathered these concerns for the attention and consideration by COCOBOD and government.

The Ghanaian cocoa farmer over the years from the time of Tetteh Quarhsie continue to be a price taker of COCOBOD’s producer prices. As the non- transparent and pseudo Producer Price Review Committee facilitated by government appointees begins its work of revising producer price, farmers for the first time in this industry are calling for a more consultative approach to producer price setting.

 

It is important to note that the significant changes in the economic parameters of the country which has always been the driver for public sector workers demand for salary increments and cost of living allowances have same impact on the socio-economic life of farmers too. Cocoa farmers are going hungry day by day as regulatory mismanagement and corruption continues to hurt production and farmer’s income. Though the industry is a major source of our foreign exchange for this country, its farmers continue to be at the mercy of government in producer price determination.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, very soon Ghanaians will welcome the news of over a billion dollars from the Cocoa Syndicated Loan to be secured for cocoa purchases but more importantly to shore up forex at the BOG. This measure is the next big alternative for the economic managers of Ghana to arrest the issue of galloping depreciation of the cedi. Such good news is sufficient evidence of the contribution the cocoa industry plays in the fiscal and monetary policy management of the Ghanaian economy. But in all this, what do we see; the Ghanaian cocoa farmer is not
dignified as they continue to wallow in abject poverty and deprivation year after year. From the above, the cocoa farmer says it is time for a more consultative and transparent negotiation and price review with government.

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the following economic factors has negatively impacted on the living conditions of the average cocoa farmer since the last two cocoa years i.e 2020/21 crop season:

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i. Increasing food prices

ii. Increasing fuel prices

iii. The Significant increase in inflation

iv. Astronomical increase in prices of cocoa inputs and fertilizers

v. E- levy

vi. Increasing prices of goods and services

vii. Significant increases in building materials particularly, cement, iron rods and iron sheets leading to increased rents and shelter

viii. Increasing utility prices and transport fares

 

These factors have bedeviled farmers over the past 2years by increasing their cost of living, making life unbearable.
Farmers continue to face difficulties in accessing investment loans frombanks. The suspended mass spraying exercise and bonus payments, abolition of the free fertilizer program among others on the supply side, affect farmers’ ability to increase yield as well as income.

 

Fellow Ghanaians, though the significant depreciation of the cedi has been amajor contributory factor to the degrading economic fundamentals, the dichotomy of the depreciation should be an increase in producer price of cocoa in cedi terms to relieve the cocoa farmers. The argument is that this depreciation phenomena should be factored in the determination of the producer price for the 2022/23 cocoa season.

 

We admit that government policy choice is restrained now than ever before as a result of the weak economy we’re experiencing but that should not be att he detriment of the vulnerable cocoa farmer whose only economic activity is now under threat as a result of reduced income levels make them fall prey to galamsey activities.

We cannot therefore end this release without calling on government to strengthen its’ fight against the galamsey menace.

Today, due to the deteriorating living conditions of cocoa farmers caused by the factors enumerated above, farmers under compelling circumstances sell out their cocoa farms to galamsey operators. The illegal miners are buying and destroying cultivated lands, forest, living quarters and water bodies. It is predictable that should this trend continue, galamsey activities may throw farmers away from their homes few years to come. The forestry commission, minerals commission, our chiefs are all expressing
innocence in face of the menace.

We hereby recommend that the government takes the following policy decision seriously.

 

1. Government must issue 1year moratorium for the cessation of allmining activities being it large scale, small scale mining and illegalmining activities in Ghana as a show of seriousness for the fight against galamsey.

2. The minerals commission must carry out an assessment of permits and concession lands of license holder for publication

3. Identify all degraded lands and withdraw licenses of entities falling foul to standard mining practice.

4. Prosecute and fine all companies who carried out their activities without reclamation and without requisite permit.

5. Educate and empower Chiefs, District Assemblies and Community Members to monitor and safeguard the re-entry of the illegal activities in their areas of jurisdictions.

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6. The fines and fees must be managed under a reclamation fund for general reclamation of degraded lands across the country.

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we wish to emphasize for the attention of COCOBOD and for that matter government that, cocoa farmers are growing poorer and poorer and are now more vulnerable than ever before. They deserve no less than 100% increase in farm gate price beginning the 2022/23 season. This implies no less an amount than GH¢ 21,120.00 per tonne or GH¢ 1,320.00 per bag from the GH¢ 10,560 per tonne and GH¢ 660 per bag respectively offered in the 2020/21 season.

Fellow Ghanaians, in the face of depreciation of the cedi, now is the perfect time to call for cocoa prices to be pegged against the dollar and farmers paid in the cedi equivalent of the forex received from cocoa exports. The Coalition of Cocoa Sector Reforms (CCRS) an advocate group for Ghana cocoa industry players, makes this proposal for the consideration and implementation by COCOBOD. Regulatory mismanagement and corruption continues unabated putting licensed buying companies into debt, depreciation of the cedi, increasing inflation, activities of galamsey destroying water bodies, the degrading forest and arable lands among all the factors earlier enumerated worsens the economic and social well-being of farmers and put the industry under serious threat . The industry is actually sinking at a faster speed. The cocoa farmer is hungry and we call on government to address these concerns.

We call on civil society to come together to advocate for sustainable cocoa since the industry is under a more serious threat. Production volumes is on a sharp decline because there’s no incentive for the youth to go into cocoa farming and our forest continues to see serious degradation by galamsey activities. The industry we predict might not survive the next decade if swift interventions are not taken.

 

Thank You

Signed
Ayisi Kumah Thomas Kwesi

(President-0249208409/0204953449)

 

Hedidor Alexander Yaw
 (Executive Secretary-0243537719)

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading from MyGhanaMedia.com as a news publishing website from Ghana.

 

 

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