The National Food and Agriculture Show
19 Jun 2018

Market Price: Cocoa Prices Tumble

Ghana’s Parliament Raises Alert on Unapproved Cocoa Insecticide in the market

Prices of cocoa on the international market have begun to tumble due to investors expectations of an imminent increase in production from top growing countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Côte d’Ivoire, which is the world’s largest producer, is projecting a production of about 1.9 million tonnes, while Ghana is hopeful of meeting its 850,000 tonnes target for the season, something which the investors believe would contribute to a global surplus of the commodity.

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICO) is forecasting a surplus of 105,000 tonnes in the current 2017-18 marketing year, as global production is estimated at 4.6 million tonnes.

This expectation of increased harvest, coupled with lower demand from top importers in the UK has already started having an impact on the sector as the commodity lost US$67.00 last two weeks to settle at US$2,604.50 per metric tonne and subsequently dropped by an additional US$110.5 last week to trade at US$2,451.00 per metric tonne.

The prices continued to dip this week as the commodity lost an additional US$60.00 to settle at US$2,391.00 per metric tonne.

The continuous decline in price of cocoa can take away the productive incentive and profitability, causing especially farmers to reduce their investment in the sector due
This could also affect government revenues from the sector in the next season if it fails to hedge the cocoa beans at the right price.

According to an Economic Analyst at Databank, Mr Courage Kwesi Boti, he indicated that currently the country had hedged the prices of its cocoa beans and this fall would therefore not have any significant impact on revenues, but, however urged the government to do proper forecasting for the upcoming season in order to hedge the beans at the right price.

“The only immediate option available to the country is to lock down the prices ahead of the season but the success of this will depend a proper forecasting of the price to determine how the dynamics would be,” he explained.

Collapse of prices

Mr Boti said he was not aware of any short-term measure the government was taking to prevent a collapse of cocoa prices in the coming season because all the measures outlined were in the long term.

“The collaboration with Côte d’Ivoire, the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to build warehouses, are long-term measures, which will take time to materialise,” he noted.
“I understand there are also plans to build a new cocoa processing plant and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed to that effect but as I speak the plans are still on paper and work has not started yet,” he added.

In the interim, he said, there was no plan yet from the government to help stabilise the prices.

Controlling the release of the beans

With Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire recently forming a joint cocoa committee, the Economic Analyst advised the committee to also look at coming up with a strategy to control the release of volumes of cocoa beans onto the global market.

He believed this was another way the two countries who contribute about half of the global cocoa beans could control the prices of the commodity on the international market.
“There should be a strategy that will control quantities that are released onto the market at specific times,” he stated.

Adding value to commodity

The anticipation of large production from leading producers has also prompted top and heavily cocoa dependent companies to outline plans to increase their demand and improve on their production.

Switzerland’s Barry Callebaut, which has factories in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, has already outlined plans to boost annual grinding capacity of its two factories in Côte d’Ivoire from 170,000 tonnes to 230,000.

In Ghana, despite efforts targeted at adding value to cocoa before exporting, the country still exports about 80 per cent of its raw cocoa beans.

The government has, however, outlined an ambitious plan to increase cocoa production to one million tonnes and also improve the local processing of the beans to 50 per cent.

Currently, there are about seven major cocoa processing firms in the country, with an estimated processing capacity of about 500,000, which puts them in a position to meet the government’s 50 per cent processing target.

Mr Boti, however, said that would be difficult due to financial constraints from some of these processing companies such as the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC).

Source Credit: Graphic Business

19 Jun 2018

Land Zoning Urgently Required in Ghana for Food Security

One of the major disincentives to agriculture in Ghana is the complete disregard for Land Use (Zoning) policies.

Most of the hitherto farmlands are been sold to Estate developers thereby leading to a complete disinterest in starting this farming enterprise all over again.

It seems almost every family wants to buy land to build without considering the limited land size of the country. The challenge is known to policy makers but nothing has been done about it so far.

Considering the size of land required for plantations, it will be unwise for farmers (most of them without the capital to start an acre of farm) to sink their start-up capital into an outright purchase of farm lands.

Zoning Farmlands. Photo Credit: SyeComp

The food basket of Accra used to be Weija, Bortianor, Ablekuma, etc. Now, such places and beyond have become places of residence.

Groital Farms, located at Nsakye, off the Nsawam-Aburi road is about an hour and half journey from the capital, Accra. The intention is not to talk about Groital today but to shed light on the happenings on our neighbouring farms.

One of our neighbours has had to relinquish his farmland of about 100 acres to the owners who intend selling to Estate Developersbecause he did not have money for outright purchase. This guy in question owns the biggest pineapple plantation in the area.

I was hurt to see earth moving equipment clearing farm lands. The simple thought that came to mind is, WE MAY SOON GO HUNGRY AS A PEOPLE if care isn’t taken. It starts with ignoring such oversight responsibilities. The District and Municipal Assemblies have more serious roles to play in this regard and Land-Use policies must be enforced.

Frank Sam-Addo

11 Jun 2018

Online Forum for Women and Youth in Agriculture Launched in Accra

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has supported the setting up of a multi-stakeholder Online Forum for Women and Youth in Agriculture.

Its objective is to encourage youth and women to act as catalysts for sustainable rural development and to provide an open channel to discuss ways to equitably include youth and other marginalized groups into agricultural value chains and emerging agribusinesses and agro-industries.

This event was recently launched at the British Council in Accra.

This launch event brought together a range of national and international stakeholders from across the private sector, government, NGOs and academia, all of whom shared an interest in increasing the involvement of women and youth in agriculture in Ghana.

The Online Forum  is expected to help stakeholders engage in fruitful interactions on specific themes and share knowledge and information on opportunities for involvement of women and youth in agricultural investment.

To join the online discussion platform to learn and/or contribute to thematic discussions, please visit:

https://dgroups.org/fao/womenandyouthagrinvest

For further support, contact the administrator of the forum via email: Micheal.Ige@fao.org