We are happy with the new cocoa price — Regional Chief Farmer

Nana Kwame Abass, Volta/Oti Regional Chief Cocoa Farmer, says farmers in the two regions have accepted the new cocoa price announced by the government.

He said although farmers aimed to receive GHS1,000 per bag, they noted that interventions such as the supply of plantain suckers, nursery of cocoa, mass spraying, supply of wellington boots, fungicide and others by government reduced the price to the GHS800.

Addressing a meeting in Hohoe, Nana Abass said they were, however, looking forward to an increase in the ensuing years.

He noted that but for the incentives from government, the cocoa farmer would have received a higher amount than what was agreed on by government and other stakeholders.

He said they had not received an increment last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors hence were not expecting the GHS140 cedis increment from the old price of GHS660.

He appealed to farmers not to be discouraged with the new price but to continue to work hard to produce more.

Nana Abass said the smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring Togo and Ivory Coast was affecting production in the regions.

He called on government and the COCOBOD to ensure prompt payment to farmers to avert farmers handing over their produce to foreigners, who had cash-in-hand.

Nana Abass called on the COCOBOD to also monitor the people or company involved in the purchase of the cocoa from the farmers since the smuggling could also be orchestrated by them.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Agriculture, this month announced that a bag of 64kg gross weight of cocoa was now being sold at GHS800.

Mr Wisdom Delali Amexame, Administrator and Intelligence Manager, COCOBOD, said the new cocoa price announced by the government was good.

He noted that all money taken from the syndicated loan had 89 per cent going to the farmers, while the rest would be used for the construction of cocoa roads, fertilisers, chemicals and staff welfare.

Mr Amexame said some farmers, despite the efforts from the government, were still smuggling cocoa into neighbouring countries.

He said although there were talks about the price of cocoa being higher in Togo, it was worth noting that there were no interventions in that country unlike the situation in Ghana.

He noted that electronic scales had been deployed to prevent unapproved adjustments from buyers of cocoa beans from farmers.

Mr Seth Kpabitey, Quality Control Officer, COCOBOD, said one of the initiatives by COCOBOD to ensure that the commodity met international standards and expectations of customers was to ensure that the beans were thoroughly dried, well fermented, free from mold and free from stored-product insects.

He said the value-chain in the export of cocoa was guaranteed and certified with easily traceable pathways with COCOBOD certifying all chemicals used.

Mr Kpabitey noted that farmers in the two regions must be commended for adhering to directives and producing quality cocoa for the nation.

Mr Linus Kofi Fiakeye, Regional Manager in charge of Cocoa Health and Extension Division, said they had formed farmer groups to educate and train them to ensure quality yields.

Mr Fiakeye said they also focused on the cutting off disease farms, overage farms, pruning and seedling distribution adding that they also engaged in mass spraying and crediting fertilisers to farmers and called on farmers to capitalise on available interventions to produce more and earn more.

Mr Samuel Fato, District Chief Cocoa Farmer, Papase, said farmers tend to smuggle their cocoa because they were being owed for more than months after purchasing the produce and pleaded for timely supply and enough chemicals.

Mr Emmanuel Senyo Agbenyo, on behalf of the Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive, pledged the Assembly’s support in collaborating with the security agencies to curb the menace of cocoa smuggling in the Municipality and the region.

He said the government was committed to the welfare of the farmers despite challenges to ensure that farmers were taken care of as well as making interventions that would better their lot.

The Ghana Police Service, Ghana Immigration Service and the Customs Excise and Preventive Service pledged their support to liaising with COCOBOD and farmers to arrest cocoa smugglers.

Assistant Superintendent of Immigration (ASI) Seth Amoako Danquah, Wli Border Post, noted that despite the many unapproved routes in the Municipality, they would continue to liaise with other security agencies to intensify patrols on the routes to prevent cocoa smuggling.

He said the youth were mostly culprits and urged the farmers to be on the lookout for the activities of the youth in their communities.

 

Source: Modern Ghana

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