The Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) on Monday said the new price of sheanut, GH¢32 per 80 kilogrammes, announced recently was arrived after consultations with all stakeholders in the industry.
It said the price, which would be the minimum or the lowest price to be paid to a sheanut farmer at the farm gate level was done with the interest of all sheanut farmers across the country, particularly, “the local woman who wakes up at dawn to go and pick the nut”.
Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the COCOBOD announced this in Accra, at a press conference in reaction to the National Association of Sheanut Farmers, Processors and Buyers’ assertion that the price was too low and it was based on a unilateral decision that could collapse the industry.
He noted that the claim was not the reality, and explained that the decision for the price for sheanut purchased at the farm gate level was decided after a number of stakeholder meetings attended by representatives of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee, Sheanut Farmers Association, sheanut buyers, shea processing companies, NGOs and civil society groups.
Dr Adu-Ampomah said invitation to these meetings were opened to all stakeholders and widely advertised in both print and electronic media in June this year of which members of the aggrieved Association making that claim refused to attend.
He said the price took into consideration all relevant parameters including the average cost of production to farmers with a provision for a margin of profit.
“It is therefore incorrect for the group to state that government through the Ghana Cocoa Board unilaterally set the price. Instead the price was a collective decision by stakeholders”.
The price, he added, was instituted to prevent exploitation of farmers in the face of the highly volatile international prices for sheanut, which buyers exploited to their advantage, adding that in the past buyers often paid very low prices, when international shea prices fell, as was being experienced at the moment.
“It must therefore be pointed out that farmers would have been worse-off if the price had not been announced. The current situation would rather help sustain the shea industry instead of collapsing it as the group asserted,” he noted.
Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, Chief Farmer, Ghana Cocoa, Coffee, Sheanut Farmers Association, said the new price would indeed benefit the farmers and all others since they had been made to understand that the price would not remain static but would be reviewed annually to reflect current prices.