Cocoa prices drop by half in 2 weeks

In Busoga Sub-region, cocoa is mostly grown in Mayuge, Kamuli, Jinja and Iganga districts.

What you need to know:

  • In Busoga Sub-region, cocoa is mostly grown in Mayuge, Kamuli, Jinja and Iganga districts. Other districts that grow cocoa in Uganda include Bundibugyo, Mukono, Kayunga, Buikwe and Masindi.

Cocoa farmers in Busoga Sub-region are crying foul after the prices of cocoa dropped by about Shs15,000 from Shs31,000 to now 15,000  per kilogramme in just a couple of weeks.

In mid-April, farmers rejoiced after the prices of cocoa increased from Shs27,000 to Shs31,000 due to the high demand on the international market.
The Mayuge District agricultural officer, Mr Paul Waluube, said the prices have dropped to between Shs15,000 and Shs18,000.

Mr Waluube attributed the price fluctuation to increased supply of the produce from West African countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast.
“The situation has normalised in West Africa, Ivory Coast and Ghana, which are some of the leading cocoa producing countries in the world. They had some challenges but they are now back on the market. Supply is now higher than demand,” he said.

Mr Waluube added: “Ghana has been experiencing climatic change, which caused drought and this affected crop yield but rain has resumed, which has increased production. Most of the gardens were destroyed by illegal gold mining. Cocoa plantations were invaded by swollen root virus disease and it affected the health of cocoa trees but this has also been addressed.”
Mr Waluube said the production of poor-quality cocoa has also affected the prices of the product.

“The farmers have not been fermenting cocoa. They have been mixing jackfruit seeds with cocoa beans, which has compromised its quality on the international market hence the reduced prices,” he said.
Mr Waluube said traders are counting losses following the reduction in prices of cocoa.
“Most traders bought cocoa at high prices from farmers but now the prices have reduced,’’ he said.

The Mayuge District coordinator for cocoa value chain, Mr Emanuel Waiswa Kawuzi, attributed the reduction in the prices of cocoa to dealers who have been selling poor-quality cocoa beans.
“Middlemen have been buying anything from farmers as long as it is related to cocoa, whether fermented or unfermented. Companies that have been buying locally have been experiencing losses. They have been buying poor quality cocoa beans hence the reduction in prices,” he said.
Mr Kawuzi said the government must come up with a regulatory body to help check the quality of cocoa.

“We need a regulatory framework that will guide its production and marketing. We need a special desk under the Ministry of Agriculture, just like for coffee, cotton and oil palm,” he said.
Ms Topista Nairuba, a cocoa farmer in Jinja District, said some middlemen are buying fermented cocoa at Shs10,000 a kilo yet they incur a lot of expenses in the production process.