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Ghanaian cocoa farmers earn more than Ivorian counterparts – Fiifi Boafo 

The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Fiifi Boafo.

By Francisca Amoakoa 

The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Fiifi Boafo, has touted the achievements of the Akufo-Addo-led government in the cocoa sector as one that is unmatched. 

In an interview with an Accra-based media station, Mr. Boafo addressed accusations that cocoa farmers are being shortchanged, despite a 58% increase in the cocoa producer price.

He pointed out that, except for 2023, Ghanaian cocoa farmers have consistently received higher payments than their counterparts in Ivory Coast for the past seven years. 

“Last year [2023] due to the exchange rate, the Ivorians’ price got better than Ghana’s. But the government in the last 7 years, with the exception of last year [2023] has paid better prices to cocoa farmers as compared to their Ivorian counterparts,” he said. 

He dismissed claims of exploitation, highlighting that Ghanaian farmers receive $47 more than their Ivorian counterparts. Boafo argued that replicating successful strategies shouldn’t be seen as wrongdoing and challenged the idea that the government is cheating farmers.

Responding to criticism about following the Ivorian model, Boafo justified the government’s approach. He emphasised that the $47 difference in payment between Ghanaian and Ivorian cocoa farmers shouldn’t be a cause for concern. 

“The difference between how much Ghana is paying cocoa farmers and the Ivorians are paying cocoa farmers, we’re paying $47 more to our Ghanaian farmers compared to Ivorian farmers. And the people who told us to replicate what the Ivorians have done, now say that what we have done is wrong and we are cheating the cocoa farmers. If I’m asked to do something someone is doing and I do the same, do you accuse me of doing the wrong thing? no,” he added. 

Mr. Boafo explained that those who previously advocated for replicating the Ivorian model are now accusing the government of wrongdoing, but he believes that if something works well, it’s not wrong to adopt it.

Regarding lower production levels in Ghana compared to Ivory Coast, Boafo attributed this to factors like treating infested farms, dealing with swollen shoot disease, and adverse weather conditions. 

He stressed that these actions are necessary for the long-term sustainability of cocoa production. Mr. Boafo acknowledged that premium levels may vary between the two countries but highlighted the support that COCOBOD provides to Ghanaian farmers, such as cooling-down periods and subsidised fertilisers, which their Ivorian counterparts don’t receive.

Mr. Boafo also addressed allegations of cocoa smuggling, clarifying that the main smuggling point is at the Togo border, not Ivory Coast.

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