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General News of Saturday, 23 February 2008

Source: GNA

Cocoa farmers appeal to COCOBOD

Duakwa (C/R), Feb. 23, GNA - Cocoa farmers at Duakwa and surrounding communities in the Central Region, on Saturday appealed to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), to ensure that monies released to licensed cocoa buying companies in respect of bonuses reached the farmers.

Opanin Kwaku Mensah, a cocoa farmer, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Akim Oda that most of the farmers had not received their bonuses for cocoa beans sold at Duakwa for the 2005/06 and the 2006/07 main crop seasons.

He said though the system for the disbursement of bonuses was straight forward, the purchasing clerks (PCs) of the various societies (sheds), made it cumbersome for the farmers, especially the illiterates among them to understand the process for payments.

Opanin Mensah said in the end the farmer was totally cheated, or given only part of his bonus.

He explained that since the bonus was only meant for the farmer, the government had to ensure that such huge sums of money was not shared among officials who had not worked for it or who did not have any cocoa farms.

The farmer explained that funds released to the buying companies as bonuses to farmers were passed on to a District Officer (D/O) who also disbursed the bonuses to the farmers through the PCs.

He stated that between the DO and the PCs, some irregular activities occurred, thereby defeating the purpose of the disbursement of the bonus.

The PCs at this point normally found faults with the farmers and made some deductions against the share of his their bonuses, he stated.

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