Nana Thomas Boakye, District Chief Farmer of Huni-Valley, has appealed to the Government and COCOBOD to increase the price of cocoa this October season.
He said the current price, which was about GHS 800.00 for a 64 kg bag, was inadequate making farmers live in hardships.
According to Nana Boakye, if the Government and COCOBOD failed to offer cocoa farmers a good producer price, it would threaten cocoa production in Huni-Valley as they produced a lot of cocoa for the country.
The District Chief Farmer made the appeal in an interview with selected journalists in the Western Region.
He said the high cost of farm inputs also consumed their profit.
“Now some farmers have sold their cocoa farms to illegal miners, while others have cut down their cocoa trees and opted for rubber plantation,” he pointed out.
Nana Boakye emphasized that an increase in cocoa prices would improve the lives of cocoa farmers and attract many people into the cocoa farming industry.
Responding to the request, The Head of Public Affairs at COCOBOD, Mr. Stephen Fiifi Boafo said they had consistently indicated that the price of cocoa was influenced by what they got from the world market.
He said the world market prices over the last six years had not been encouraging but in recent months they have seen an increment.
“The good news is that when the world market price is increasing it has a direct effect on what farmers will receive when we go to the producer price review committee to determine the price for cocoa farmers
Those who feel the price has not been motivating enough, the good news is that the world market price is increasing so expect some good news when the producer price review committee meets to determine the price”, Mr Boafo added.
On activities of illegal miners, Mr Boafo said they were robbing farmers of their lifetime earnings and legacies that they could bequeath to their generations.
He said the Government in collaboration with Ghana Cocoa Board and the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) was implementing measures to better the lives of cocoa farmers, especially in retirement.
“The introduction of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme is meant to secure your future and provide you with a decent means of livelihood when you retire”
As with other pension schemes, your monthly earnings will depend on your contributions which means that if you sell off your cocoa farms for mining activities, you are denying yourself and future generations the opportunity to earn decent livelihoods,” he added.
He said apart from the introduction of the Pension Scheme, COCOBOD was also implementing interventions such as cocoa mass spraying, cocoa rehabilitation, pruning, hand pollination and highly subsidized fertilizers to support farmers.
These, Mr Boafo said, come at a huge cost to the Government, hence the need to safeguard the future of the cocoa industry by eradicating illegal mining.
He, therefore, called on cocoa farmers to resist any attempt by illegal miners to convince them to sell off their lands as it would deprive them of their lifetime investments.