The Ghana Rubber Estates Limited, GREL, producers of rubber and rubber products in the country has called for the establishment of an inter-professional body to determine the prices of raw rubber bought from Rubber Out-growers in the country.
GREL believes it is a lasting approach at addressing the current price impasse between the company and outgrowers; the company’s second main suppliers.
It will be recalled that Rubber Out growers in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region early this year took to the streets of Agona Nkwanta to demonstrate against GREL accusing them of shortchanging the farmers.
According to the farmers, Rubber Out growers in neighboring Ivory Coast [whose price per kilogram is also determined by the Singaporean Market, same as Ghana] are paid higher prices for a kilogram of rubber than farmers in Ghana.
They however threatened to sell their produce in Ivory Coast if price per kilogram was not increased.
But in an interview with pulse.com.gh, the project director for the Rubber Outgrower Plantations project at GREL, Emmanuel Akwasi Owusu noted that “the price of rubber on the international market like other commodities have gone down, and it has affected GREL as a company to the point we had to declare some workers redundant this year. By the agreement with our out growers, when the price of rubber decreases or increases on the world market, it affect [the Free On Board, FOB percentage] pricing of the commodity paid to the farmers. The situation is different in Ivory Coast where they have a fixed percentage rate”.
"…To tell you the truth, when the price of rubber is good on the world market, we have Ivorians who also wants to sell to Ghana because Ghana will be paying attractive FOB. We have communicated this to our out growers but they will not take it. They think we are cheating them because of the price of a kilogram of rubber at Ivory Coast”. Mr. Owusu bemoaned.
Currently the price of rubber on the world market has taken a downward decline since 2013”.
Mr. Owusu concluded that “the way forward really is the establishment of an inter-professional body which will set [the minimum] prices which a kilogram of rubber will be sold as it is the case in Ivory Coast. That body will include members of all actors in the rubber production and supply chain. Currently, farmers think that GREL is cheating them because GREL is acting as it were as the player and referee. That will help us all”.