THE PRICE POLICIES OF THE MARKETING BOARDS (II)
The price policies of the marketing boards were described in Chapter 22; the principal implications and results of these policies are examined in this chapter.
In 1948-9 the Gold Coast Cocoa Marketing Board made the trifling 'loss' of £100,000 which was a fraction of 1 % of its accumulated surpluses or of its annual turnover. Following this very small draft on its reserves the Board reduced the producer prices by 30% and in the following year made the huge surplus of £18 m. This was only one instance of the insistence of the marketing boards on the accumulation of surpluses.
The desire to secure surpluses, coupled with a disregard of the difference between changes in producer prices and in producer incomes, have brought about a destabilization of incomes1 of cocoa producers and probably also of groundnut producers. As a result of the price policies of the Cocoa Boards the incomes of cocoa producers have not only been greatly reduced but they have fluctuated more violently over these years than if the crops had been paid for at full market value.
This can be seen from Table 24, in which actual incomes refer to producer prices multiplied by tonnages purchased, and potential incomes refer to annual incomes plus the annual surpluses. The figures are shown both in absolute terms and as percentages of 1947-8, the first year of the operation of the Cocoa Boards. It will be seen that the actual fluctuations were far greater than they would have been if the total net proceeds had been paid out. In short, the payment of world prices to cocoa producers would have secured a greater stability of producers' incomes at a much higher level.
It is not possible to prepare a similar table for the other major crops. The other boards have not been in existence for a sufficiently long period for construction of such a series. Moreover, prices have been kept at low absolute levels, and such price policies have rendered easy the____________________