A COCOBOD executive has publicly stated that Ghana’s cocoa regulator will not reduce the current farmgate price floor for cocoa beans. Despite IMF’s recommending a cut in the farmgate price floor, the official cited the precarious situation of farmers and losses of farm area to illegal galamsey, unlicensed small-scale gold mining. Low cocoa prices can encourage farmers to sell their land to miners.
Galamsey is environmentally destructive and includes practices that are not only dangerous for laborers but leave significant toxic chemicals in the soil, such as mercury, lead, and cyanide—substances to which youths and even child laborers are commonly exposed.
In the meantime, Ghana may be hoping for a rebound in both its production and in world cocoa prices, in some sense almost contradictory goals since continued strength in West African cocoa production is partly behind the sustained weakness in prices. There was talk of a 50,000 MT drop in expected output this season, but this could prove to be just rumor. For now, COCOBOD’s funding deficit is estimated at some US$180 million, with expenses mounting in the form of support for farmers facing swollen shoot virus and ambitious plans for reforestation and new cocoa plantings.