Cocoa farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are likely to suffer poor yields as they cannot afford the cost of fertilizer, reports Reuters. The price has doubled and, in some cases, tripled from a year ago, farmers lamented.
Nitrogen-based fertilizer such as nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) costs between 36,000 and 38,000 CFA francs ($57-$60) for a 50kg bag -, more than double the price in 2020 and 2021.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the regulator, CCC, recommends the application of fertilizer at least once a year, but in the current climate, there are many farmers who haven’t even done that.
This year I didn’t do anything because I couldn’t afford to.Fulbert Kouamé, who farms 8 hectares in Soubre region
A 50 kg bag of NPK fertiliser costs at least 320 Ghanaian cedis ($35) in Ghana, which imports about half of its fertiliser from Russia, up from 108 cedis last year.
I didn’t even have enough money this year for my family and me. I prefer to skip the fertiliser treatment this year even though I know my production will drop. I have no choice.Jerome Appiah, who farms three hectares of cocoa in Ghana’s Western region.
In addition to the increased cost of fertiliser, the Ghanaian currency (cedi) has depreciated against the dollar (as have most other currencies). The cedi is now worth about 30% less than it was last year. This is good news for the respective countries that sell the cocoa for dollars and pay the farmers in their local currency, but it is bad news for the farmers who have to buy inputs like fertiliser and pay in foreign currency.
photo source: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Flickr