Regional News of Wednesday, 18 July 2012
Some Cocoa Buying Companies in the Mpohor-Wassa District of the Western region have been alleged to adjust their weighing scales to cheat cocoa farmers.
In some situations, the poor farmer could lose about 9 kilo-grammes per a bag of cocoa beans to such unscrupulous agents and due to the bad nature of the roads leading to the area, the farmers are forced to sell under the circumstance.
In other situations too, some of the purchasing clerks of the buying companies fail to pay for the cocoa purchased and often abscond with money belonging to the farmers making life difficult for them.
The farmers of the area said this during a Cadbury Cocoa Partnership (CCP) community forum at Sekyere-Krobo, a cocoa farming community in the district.
The farmers said because of their location, some purchasing clerks come to the area in the name of several companies and thus it is difficult to identify the very company that purchased their produce after the purchasing clerks had turned out to be fake.
They said the situation was affecting their living standards and made it difficult for them to pay the academic fees for their wards and other pressing demands including the purchasing of fertilizes.
Madam Esther Coffie, a farmer, recounted how a purchasing clerk bought her husband’s cocoa to the tune of G?1,500 and has not been paid since 2009 adding that the said clerk could not be found.
She said the situation led to their daughter’s inability to go to the Senior High School (SHS) at the time since they were expecting to use that money for the payments of her admission requirements.
She said as a result, her daughter had to abandon her education to learn a trade, after they had been able to gather some money from the subsequent sale of their other farm produce.
The farmers appealed to the Ministry of the Food and Agriculture and Cocobod to monitor the weighing scales of purchasing clerks and check the backgrounds of all purchasing companies and those they employ as clerks, especially in the remote communities to protect the interest of cocoa farmers.
They suggested that, the district assemblies should form taskforce to flush out such miscreants who are cheating cocoa farmers in remote areas.**