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Ghana Raises Stake in Cocoa Market with Farmer Payout Boost Amid Shortage


Lauren Miller

April 6, 2024 - 03:07 am


Cocoa Prices Soar as Ghana Increases Farmer Payouts Amid Global Shortage

Ghana has taken a major step to support its cocoa farmers, following the example of neighboring Ivory Coast. With cocoa futures reaching remarkable heights this year, Ghana, the world's second-largest cocoa producer, has increased the price paid to farmers for their cocoa beans by a significant 58%. The Ghana Cocoa Board announced in a recent statement that the farmgate price per ton for the remainder of the 2023-24 season is now 33,120 cedis (equivalent to $2,481), or 2,070 cedis for each 64-kilogram bag.

Inducement of Price Surge

The dramatic increase in cocoa futures prices—more than doubling to surpass the $10,000 per ton mark—has been a game-changer. However, following a recent peak, prices have seen a slight decrease. The hike is linked to decreased cocoa output in leading producer nations Ivory Coast and Ghana. A combination of unfavorable weather conditions, disease outbreaks, and a crucial fertilizer deficit have conspired to create what seems to be a third consecutive year of global cocoa supply shortages.

Incentivizing Farmers to Sustain Cocoa Production

The regulatory body commonly known as Cocobod has highlighted the necessity for the increase, which is expected to boost farmers' income. According to Cocobod, this action was both a reaction to the flourishing international cocoa market prices and an opportunity to foster greater income for local cocoa farmers. Cocobod's calculated move comes at a critical juncture, as this season reflects the first instance of Ghana raising farmer pay rates twice within a single main crop season, which lasts from September through to June 30 each year. The initial hike was a noteworthy 63.5% at the start of the season.

Comparing the Regional Response

Ivory Coast took the initiative on April 2, with a 50% price increase to 1,500 CFA francs (approximately $2.48) per kilogram for its mid-crop harvest. The mid-crop, the smaller of two annual harvests, kicks off this month and wraps up by the end of September. Ghana’s decision to boost payments reflects a regional trend aimed at addressing the broader economic challenges faced by cocoa growers.

A Strategic Move with Global Implications

The strategic raising of farmgate prices is believed by many to be a potential countermeasure to the looming global cocoa shortfall. Improved financial incentives for farmers could lead to larger quantities of cocoa being brought forward for processing and subsequent export, which would alleviate some of the current market tension. There has been some concern about farmers withholding their cocoa in anticipation of better prices, and this increase could potentially thwart such speculative withholding.

Stimulating the Cocoa Economy

Moreover, the promise of higher payments may drive more investment into local agriculture, particularly in farm areas where trees are often old and more susceptible to disease. Such rejuvenation efforts could lead to healthier crops and, by extension, a more stable and sustainable cocoa supply in the years to come.

The Gap Between Local Payment and World Market Rates

Despite the recent positive steps, farmgate prices continue to trail significantly behind world market levels. As such, there's an ongoing discussion that further corrective action is essential to fully address the chronic issue of low farmer remuneration, which has long plagued West African countries at the heart of the cocoa trade. Signs of potential amelioration appeared as New York futures increased by 3.5%, rising to $9,795 per ton after experiencing a three-day decline.


To round up, Ghana’s bold decision to up the ante for cocoa farmers reiterates the country’s dedication to supporting its agrarian community and may serve to stabilize the global cocoa market, strained by years of production shortfalls and growing demand. As the world eagerly watches the evolving dynamics of the cocoa industry, it is clear that governments and regulatory bodies are stepping up to shield farmers and reinforce an industry fundamental to economies and sweet tooths worldwide.

Looking Forward in the Cocoa Industry

Even though Ghana and Ivory Coast play leading roles in the global cocoa industry with their significant contributions to the world supply, the continued success and sustainability of the industry depend not only on the wellbeing of the crops but also on the livelihoods of the farmers cultivating them. Underpayment and harsh farming conditions have long been detriments in the industry, one which fundamentally depends on the dedication and hard work of millions of smallholder farmers. With the prosperity of thousands of families intrinsically linked to the cocoa fields, equitable and sufficient compensation is not just an economic issue, but a moral one.

The Role of Weather and Disease in Cocoa Production

Another compelling aspect of this complex picture is the influence of uncontrollable external factors such as weather patterns and crop diseases. These can have an outsized impact on cocoa production, often negating farmer efforts and agency. As the climate crisis deepens, the frequency and intensity of these adverse events may increase, presenting an ongoing challenge for farmers and industry regulators. Investing in research, disease-resistant cocoa strains, and robust support systems for farmers could be key to mitigating these risks and ensuring the stability of cocoa supplies.

The Balance of Local and Global Economics

It's crucial to remember that the cocoa industry does not operate in isolation. Changes within local economies can have ripple effects across global markets. As such, the actions taken by Ghanaian and Ivorian regulators not only serve their immediate communities but also communicate a significant message to international buyers and chocolate manufacturers. These multinational stakeholders must consider the interdependence of their business models with the livelihoods of the farmers and the sustainability of cocoa as a resource. Responsible sourcing and fair trade initiatives can be important components in equilibrating this balance.

International Market Response and Future Trends

Market analysts and traders closely monitor developments such as Ghana's price increase, using them as indicators to forecast future market conditions. With the cocoa market already in a deficit stage, any shifts in the producer countries' policies could further influence prices, affecting everything from farmer incomes to the final cost of chocolate on supermarket shelves. Understanding the complexities of these interactions is essential for governments, businesses, and consumers alike to make informed decisions about how they participate in the cocoa market.

Comprehensive Growth Strategies for Cocoa Sector

To galvanize comprehensive growth within the cocoa sector, a holistic approach is necessary. This means looking beyond immediate market demands and focusing also on long-term strategies such as improving agricultural practices, infrastructure development, and market access for farmers. Encouraging young entrepreneurs to enter the cocoa farming industry with innovative ideas and modern techniques could also revitalize and future-proof the sector, ensuring that it remains dynamic and adaptive to the changing global landscape.

Building Equitable Trade Alliances

The importance of building equitable trade relationships cannot be overstated in the context of an industry where pricing power has historically been skewed towards the more affluent consuming nations. By aligning Western chocolate companies with the interests of West African farmers through fair trade agreements, potentially supplemented by national policies that foreground farmer well-being, strides can be made towards a more balanced and just global cocoa trade.

Leveraging Digital and Technological Advancements

In an era characterized by rapid technological evolution, leveraging digital tools and advances to augment cocoa production and supply chain management could present untapped opportunities. Digital innovation has the potential to empower cocoa farmers and cooperatives with greater market insights, access to farm management software, and platforms for direct trade that could bypass traditional supply chain constraints and yield better economic returns.

Building Sustainable Cocoa Communities

Ultimately, the success of interventions such as price increases is dependent on their ability to foster sustainable cocoa communities. This can be achieved through dedicated policies that promote community development, access to education, and healthcare — all of which contribute to creating an enabling environment where cocoa farming can flourish as both a profession and a way of life.

Links to original content:

Bloomberg L.P.

Ghana Increases Farmgate Cocoa Prices by 58% Amid a Surge in Futures

A Resilient Future for Cocoa Farmers

In closing, Ghana's recent move to increase farmer payouts represents more than just an effort to mitigate a shortage in the cocoa supply chain; it signals a commitment to securing a resilient and prosperous future for the thousands of farmers upon whom the global chocolate industry relies. This commitment, mirrored by Ivory Coast, is not only necessary for correcting long-standing inequities but is equally critical for securing the future of chocolate — a commodity cherished across the world.