Cocoa farmers in the Assin North, Assin Central and Assin South Districts of the Central Region have lamented over non-payments of their cocoa sold to Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs).
According to the farmers, the delay in payments had persisted for years, but the situation over the last seven months had worsened their plight.
The farmers, therefore, want government to come clean with them on why their monies had been delayed as they suspected LBCs and Purchasing Clarks (PCs) to be playing smart on them.
The aggrieved farmers made the appeal at a forum on the ‘sustainability of the cocoa industry and role of key stakeholders’ at Assin-Fosu.
Sharing his frustrations, Mr Philip Amankwah, a 35-year-old farmer from Assin-Andoe, said many cocoa farmers depended mainly on proceeds from their cocoa to fend for their families and prepare new farmlands for the next farming season.
“The proceeds of the cocoa is what we use to pay among others, school fees, utilities, medical bills and therefore, the lack of it is impoverishing the poor farmers without alternative means of livelihoods”.
Madam Akosua Abrefi from Assin-Bereku with over 60 acres of Cocoa farm said: “We are now keeping the cocoa produce in our rooms after drying because the LBC and PCs are claiming there is no money.”
On cocoa weighing scales, the farmers appealed to the government to investigate the widespread manipulation of weighing scales by PCs and arrest perpetrators engaged in such fraudulent practice to serve as deterrent to others.
They also urged LBCs and the Ghana Standards Authority to intensify monitoring especially in the hard-to-reach communities to ensure that PCs adhered to the approved weighing scales and standards.
Touching on other issues affecting the cocoa industry in Ghana, the farmers called on government to pay farmers allowances or pension as it did to public sector employees.
“Public sector employees receive allowances, but as the caretaker of all these groups, we earn nothing after old age,” they lamented.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency after the programme, some PCs who pleaded anonymity, denied that they were using monies of farmers for personal businesses.