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10.11.2005 Business & Finance

BUDGET: 583,000 tonnes of cocoa purchased

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Accra, Nov. 10, GNA - Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Thursday said a total of 583,109 tonnes of cocoa was purchased during the 2004/2005 cocoa year and the output for 2005/2006 was expected to stabilise.

Presenting the 2006 Budget Statement to Parliament in Accra, Mr Baah-Wiredu said even though prices fell on the international market in 2004/2005, Government maintained its commitment to farmers by retaining their share of the F.O.B price at 70 per cent and maintaining the producer price at nine million cedis per tonne. He said in 2006, the international cocoa market was expected to remain depressed under the weight of the global surplus during the 2004-2005.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said 70 per cent of the F.O.B price would have translated to a producer price of 8.7 million cedis per tonne. He said despite this development, Government had decided to maintain the producer price at nine million cedis per tonne for the 2005/06 crop season, which is more than over 72 per cent of F.O.B. The Finance Minister said in 2006, the Government would continue to support the private sector participation in the domestic cocoa processing.

This, he said, would help to achieve its objective of raising the volume of cocoa beans processed locally from the current 20.0 per cent to 40.0 per cent of national output in the medium term. Mr Baah-Wiredu said in a climate of declining international prices of cocoa beans, increasing domestic processing of cocoa would make up for some of the losses by adding economic value to Ghana's cocoa.

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