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ACCRA, Oct 5 – Ghana has raised the guaranteed farmgate price paid to cocoa farmers to 12,800 cedis ($1,248.78) per tonne for the main crop of the 2022/23 season, which will begin on Oct. 7, up from 10,560 cedis for the last two seasons, the agriculture minister said on Wednesday.
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Despite the 21% increase, the price is lower than the 900 CFA francs ($1.36) per kilogram set by neighboring top cocoa producer Ivory Coast on Sept. 30, raising a risk that cocoa could be smuggled across the border to be sold at higher prices.
“The 21% rise in the producer price of cocoa is a testament to Government’s resolve to ensure farmers earn a decent income and make cocoa farming lucrative,” said Agriculture Minister Owusu Afriyie Akoto.
He shrugged off the potential problem of smuggling, saying the issue has always existed but that the price difference was small.
Ghana’s sector regulator, Cocobod, had postponed the announcement of the new farmgate price, which was initially scheduled for Oct. 1. Reasons for the delay were not stated.
But it surprised some sector insiders in Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast, who told Reuters it could spell bad news for farmers who had hoped the new farmgate price would equal Ivory Coast’s.
Ghana is under pressure to sell enough cocoa to repay a $1.13 billion syndicated loan Cocobod signed with international banks on Monday to finance purchases for the upcoming season.
Cocoa production in Ghana is down sharply this year, seen at 689,000 tonnes on Sept. 1 after a previous forecast of 800,000 tonnes. ($1 = 10.2500 Ghanian cedi) (Reporting by Christian Akorlie and Cooper Inveen; Writing by Sofia Christensen and Nellie Peyton; Editing by Bate Felix, Alexandra Hudson)
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