Many cocoa farmers who gathered at this year's Cocoa Day celebration at Suhum in the Eastern Region in anticipation of a new cocoa price hike went home disappointed.
This is because the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo, did not announce the new price as they had hoped but rather told them to expect the new price early next week.
The farmers, who thronged the area from the cocoa growing communities in the country, expressed dissatisfaction about the failure to announce the new price.
Currently, a bag of cocoa costs GH¢660 but the farmers said that was on the low side, as it did not match the current cost of production and economic situation.
The Ghana Cocoa Board commemorates the Cocoa Day each year to recognise the contribution of cocoa farmers and stakeholders for their contribution towards the economy.
It is also used to promote the consumption of cocoa by creating awareness of its health and nutritional benefits.
A series of events are held during the week, climaxed with a grand durbar at a selected cocoa production community.
Suhum hosted this year’s event which was on the theme, "COCOBOD @ 75; Sustaining Our Environment, Wealth and Health."
It was attended by cocoa farmers, workers of COCOBOD, stakeholders in the cocoa industry, government officials such as the Municipal Chief Executive for Suhum, Margaret Darko Darkwah, and the Member of Parliament for the area, Oboafo Asante.
Addressing the farmers, Mr Addo, who represented the sector Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the new price would definitely be announced to cocoa farmers early next week.
He explained that the delay in coming out with the new price for the commodity was because the committee assigned to deliberate on the price was yet to conclude its work.
Mr Addo, therefore, appealed to the gallant cocoa farmers to exercise restraint and patiently wait for the new price which would be announced once the committee had presented a report on its work.
Before the climax, an exhibition of varieties of cocoa products was held.
Also on display were chemicals used for the cultivation of cocoa, insurance companies exhibited their products some financial institutions were there to enable cocoa farmers solicit for financial support, as well as some non-government organisations (NGOs) who operate in cocoa growing areas.
Earlier, some workers of COCOBOD went on a float through the principal streets of Suhum with placards some of which read, "Cocoa is a lucrative business for the youth", "Illegal mining is an environmental disaster", "Cocoa is Ghana and Ghana is Cocoa", "Cocoa lowers blood pressure", "Regular cocoa consumption reduces stress", "Consume cocoa daily for a healthy life", and "Let's say no to galamsey among others”.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said it was an undisputed fact that cocoa had contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the country.
He said although cocoa was a single crop, it had positively affected the livelihoods of every Ghanaian household.
Mr Aidoo said although the government had made tremendous efforts to improve the lives of cocoa farmers as well as the fortunes of the cocoa industry, such efforts had been faced with an unprecedented challenge of illegal mining (galamsey).
The activities of the illegal miners not only had the potential of crippling the cocoa sector but also threatened people's means of survival as humans, that is environmental degradation.