The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has urged the government to review cocoa producer price for Ghanaian farmers without further delay.
A statement signed by Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng, Communications Director of the party and released in Accra, noted that currently, a 64kg bag of cocoa is purchased at 64,000 CFA, the equivalent of GH˘213 from Ivorian farmers.
"The same 64kg bag is purchased at GH˘150 by the government from our farmers. Cote D’Ivoire is paying 42% more to its farmers. This is the cause of the smuggling."
"The assumption by the NDC government that, by offering low producer price to Ghanaian
farmers and selling the same cocoa at high prices on the international market, it can reap a lot of revenue is naive. The amount of cocoa smuggled when such price difference exists across our borders causes far more loss of revenue to the state than the additional revenue we get by paying lower prices to our farmers. Besides, why should government want to out-smart or cheat our poor cocoa farmers?"
The statement said the New Patriotic Party takes the view that border patrol is an insufficient policy to contain cocoa smuggling.
"Parity of cocoa producer prices across our borders (especially with Cote D’Ivoire) is a
far more effective and less expensive strategy to control cocoa smuggling. Unfortunately, this policy of offering Ghanaian farmers the same producer price as offered in neighbouring countries, which was successfully used by the previous NPP government, was abandoned by the NDC when it came into office", it stated.
It said the NPP advised the government on October 8, 2009, that the huge price difference
between producer prices of cocoa in Ghana and our neighbouring countries was an invitation to smuggling but that advice was not taken.
The party congratulated the investigative journalists who so courageously captured
on video the smuggling of cocoa and other commodities across our borders and said this display of commitment to duty is worthy of emulation by all.
"We hope government would take steps to punish the perpetrators (both the smugglers and
corrupt officials) to signal a lesson to others that such wrongs would not go unpunished."