The government had decided to review the purchase of coffee and shea nut to provide a ready market for the produce and encourage farmers to stay in business, President J. A. Kufuor announced at the Castle, Osu in Accra, yesterday.
To that end, he said, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) would meet all the buyers to agree on the minimum producer price.
The agreement on the minimum producer price would serve as the basis for making arrangements for the required funding for the purchase of coffee and shea nut.
President Kufuor was reacting to an appeal by the National Chief Farmer, Nana Boakye Yiadom, on behalf of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee, and Sheanut Farmers Association, when he led the executive of the association to pay a courtesy call on him.
The Executive was at the Castle to express appreciation to the President and the government for increasing the producer price of cocoa and deciding to pay a bonus of ¢17,140 per bag of cocoa.
President Kufuor explained that the decision to buy cocoa and shea nut was meant to encourage the production of the two crops, thereby precipitating enhanced living conditions for farmers.
He gave the assurance that the government would continue to support farmers and agriculture generally in the country. He commended cocoa farmers for their efforts, leading to an all-time record cocoa production of 740,457 metric tonnes in the 2005/2006 cocoa season.
The President said when the government assumed office, the producer price of cocoa was about 40 per cent of the world market price.
Currently, he said, the producer price of ¢9,150,000 per tonne was 72 per cent of the world cocoa market price.
The President said he was happy that a bonus of ¢17,140 per bag was being paid to farmers, not because of any political reasons but simply because the farmers deserved it.
Nana Boakye Yiadom thanked the Government for its policies on cocoa which had helped to boost production. He said the mass spraying of cocoa farms had been very beneficial to cocoa farmers but asked that the application of fertiliser should be left in the hands of farmers.
The Chief Executive of the COCOBOD, Mr Issac Osei, explained that the new producer price for cocoa had been announced to encourage farmers to increase production.