Cocoa farmers are expected to yield good result this year after the good beginning of the fabulous price offer from buyers as the harvest season begins.
Currently the a kilogram of cocoa is bought for L$300 (or the US$1.50) equivalent by the local vendors, something that brought smiles on the faces of many farmers, saying, the beginning price means the price of cocoa could likely reach L$600 (US$3) before the end of harvest.
Currently, farmers are carrying on the cleaning of their farms and, at the same time, plucking some of the fruits that are ready for harvest in preparation of the real harvest, which normally starts in August and could go as far as late November each year.
“We are expecting good price this year,” said Paul Dopoe, a cocoa farmer in Glarlay.
“With this good beginning, it means we are going to get something good from harvest, but our main challenge is the bad road condition, which the buyers use against the prices they offered,” he said.
The farm to market roads along the cocoa belt, which is situated around the Ivorian border, are very bad and sometimes became impassable during the main harvest season (August to October) due to a heavy downpour of rain.
According to cocoa farmers the new variety of cocoa is nonseasonal, but a major problem they encounter is pests or diseases that sometimes cause most of fruits to rot before they are ready.
“The cocoa disease sometime get the cocoa rotten before time, causing the loss of several tons of cocoa during some seasons,” David Myers, a farmer, explained.
Last year, a cocoa buying company located in the former LPMC Compound in Ganta (SUSCOM) complained of bad roads which, according to them, were hampering movement of local cocoa buyers with their consignments to their warehouses. SUSCOM buys from local vendors for shipping abroad.
The price of cocoa has been hitting hard in the local market in Liberia since few years back, making some Ivorian farmers to cross over with their produce into Liberia for a good price, but the issue of farm to market road post serious threat to the industry.