By Lewis S. Teh
Authorities at the Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA) have announced a massive reduction in the prices of cocoa on the Liberian market for the month of October 2021 in the country.
LACRA told a press conference at its head office located at the National Port Authority (NPA) on Monday, 11 October 2021 that the move is based on the price of cocoa on the global market.
LACRA is mandated by law to serve as the regulator of all agricultural trade, particularly those involving cocoa, coffee, and oil palm.
LACRA Director-General Dr. John S. Flomo said using the average of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) daily quotation, LACRA announces grade one for the price of cocoa as US$1.47, grade two US$1.33, and subgrade US$1.17 respectively for the month of October.
The reduction in the price includes Farm Grade US$1.47, Max Moisture Content US$7.5, Max Salty Content 3.0%, Max Defects Mold 3.0%, and Beans Count Max/100g.
He said unless otherwise negotiated between buyers and sellers, exporters are required to pay all licenses to buy produce buying, registered farmers associations, and certified cooperatives inland freight for cocoa delivered to their warehouse at a rate of US$8 per kilo as well as buying commission applicable on the net farm rate value of cocoa beans transacted.
“Only certified cooperatives, registered farmer associations, and licensed buying agencies are authorized to buy at the farm,” Dr. Flomo said.
He noted that licensed exporters are to purchase cocoa beans only from registered cooperatives, licensed and farmer groupings, and produce buying agencies.
At the same time, LACRA warns that the pricing and grading disputes between and among buyers and sellers should be first referred to LACRA management for an amicable settlement, using the official LACRA grading chart as the basis.
Meanwhile, Dr. Flomo said the export volume of cocoa is low, but LACRA has been working with relevant stakeholders to make the cocoa sector viable.
LACRA was established in 2016 to replace the Liberian Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) as defined in Chapter 57 of the Executive Law of 1973 for the purposes of promoting the production, processing, and marketing of high-quality agricultural commodities, particularly.
“What we [are] doing right now at LACRA is we are currently conducting various studies to see how best we can improve the cocoa sector of Liberia to help the Liberian economy,” Dr. Flomo explained.
“We haven’t been able to reach out to all of the fifteen counties, but our presence is in [a] few counties, Nimba, Lofa, and Bong counties, among others,” Dr. Flomo continued.
He disclosed that beginning January 2022, LACRA will begin a major cocoa nursery to help farmers’ production.
For his part, Mr. Musa Konneh, LACRA Deputy Director-General for Operation and Technical Services, said the possibility of having a change in the cocoa prices depends on both global and local variables, noting that the export volume of cocoa in Liberia is low.
“This announcement here today is not a unilateral decision, last week we had an engagement with stakeholders, EU, CARI, Ministry of Agriculture, USAID, CDA, Ministry of Commerce and we built consensus before making this announcement,” he said.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/agriculture-boss-pens-3-projects-to-empower-farmers/–Edited by Winston W. Parley