Liberia’s cocoa market regulator, the Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA), dropped unwelcome news on Liberia’s small and struggling farmers. Following Côte d’Ivoire’s unfortunate lead, they have dropped the price of cocoa.
The reduction is not as significant as the 18.5% cut announced by the CCC in Côte d’Ivoire however, but at 3% it does, in fact, bring the price pari passu with their eastern neighbour.
Not that this will be of much comfort to the impoverished farmers who may not even get the official farmgate price. As we wrote recently, some unscrupulous traders will tour the farms and buy the cocoa for cash, at a significant discount to the official farmgate price.
Cash-poor farmers are often enticed by the prospect of some cash now in their pocket, over a higher payment later.
This seemed to be something Dr Flomo, the Director-General of the regulator alluded to when making the new pricing announcement at their headquarters.
Only certified cooperatives, registered farmer associations, and licensed buying agencies are authorized to buy at the farm. – Dr Flomo, the Director-General of LACRA
He also referred to disagreements on grading, saying that there was a process the parties could use to settle such disagreements. The statement seems to imply that the parties were unaware of the process. We suspect that awareness isn’t the problem, but the lack of effective industry engagement by the government.