The Ghana Civil-society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) urges COCOBOD to reassess its cocoa forward sales policy.

The Ghana Civil-society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) has urged the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to reconsider its forward sales cocoa marketing system in light of the surging market prices. This system entails contractual agreements between cocoa producers and buyers for the exchange of cocoa beans or products at a predetermined price at a future date, serving as a risk management tool. While this system has long been favored by Ghana’s Cocoa Marketing Company, recent record-breaking cocoa prices have prompted some producers to opt for spot market sales instead.

However, certain Ghanaian cocoa farmers and civil society groups have raised concerns about the efficacy of COCOBOD’s forward sales policy in the current cocoa industry landscape. Nana Kwasi Barning Ackah, the National Coordinator for GCCP, emphasized that the forward sales strategy may hinder Ghanaian cocoa farmers from capitalizing on current market prices, potentially limiting the country’s ability to benefit from favorable market conditions. The GCCP, comprising cocoa farmer cooperatives, NGOs in the cocoa sector, and media organizations, contends that the spot market offers better returns for producers, ensuring a more lucrative cocoa farmgate price and a sustainable income.

Addressing a meeting to review the platform’s work plan for 2024 and finalize the rollout plan for the GCCP and GIZ Project, Nana Kwasi Barning Ackah stressed the dire living conditions of cocoa farmers in Ghana, highlighting the urgent need for civil society intervention to positively influence cocoa sector policies. The GCCP expressed concern over the detrimental impact of illegal gold mining (galamsey) on arable farmlands and cocoa plantations, particularly in cocoa-growing regions like the Western North, Western South, Eastern, and Ashanti Regions.

Furthermore, Ghana’s failure to meet its average annual cocoa production target for three consecutive crop seasons has significantly impacted national revenue and local grinding and export activities. Ackah underscored the persistently low cocoa prices and the need for companies to address the issue of poor buying prices that contribute to the impoverished living conditions of cocoa farmers. Ismaila Pomasi, a GCCP member and Council Chairman of Cocoa Abrabopa Association, emphasized the importance of paying better prices for cocoa and ensuring the freedom of farmers to organize collectively.

Pomasi also criticized the inconsistencies in policy implementation by COCOBOD and the government, citing instances of fluctuating support measures such as the provision of free fertilizer to cocoa farmers. The Steering Committee meeting brought together officials from various organizations including OXFAM, INKOTA, The Ghana Agricultural & Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA), SEND Ghana, EcoCare Ghana, Solidaridad, The World Cocoa Farmers Organisation (WCFO), Cocoa Abrabopa Association, Cocoa Mmaa, SOCODEVI, Tropenbos Ghana, and Voice Network.