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Business News of Sunday, 19 July 2015

Source: GNA

Electronic payment system introduced for cocoa farmers

Ghana has introduced an innovative “Cocoa Sika Payment Platform,” an electronic payment system for cocoa farmers.

This is to facilitate rapid and secured payment of monies to farmers for beans purchased.

The Cocoa Sika Payment Platform seeks to eliminate physical movement of huge sums of money and ensure a cashless system that will eradicate losses associated with the physical cash payment system.

In collaboration with stakeholders, the innovative Cocoa Sika Payment system will be operated mainly by two telecommunication giants – Vodafone and MTN.

Introducing the Cocoa Sika Payment Platform at the inauguration of the Progressive Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association in Accra, Mrs Gladys Awuku, Chief Manager at Bank of Ghana said a cashless payment system in the cocoa sector is a welcoming news. She said Bank of Ghana will continue to support and provide adequate infrastructure to promote government’s efforts at operating a cashless economy.

She mentioned that government, through Bank of Ghana is set to adopt measures to move transactions from the manual payment system to the electronic platform, and welcomed the Cocoa Sika Payment Platform.

According to her, the move will ensure security of transactions; eliminate waste and leakages in transactions and payment of cocoa farmers across the country.

Mrs Awuku advised the Progressive Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association (PLCBA) to collaborate with all stakeholders to make it a success.

The PLCBA President, Samuel Anane, said the association will collaborate with the banks, Vodafone and MTN to set up redeeming points where farmers can cash their money as and when they need it.

He explained that a secured redeeming point would ensure prompt payment to farmers in all agro industry.

The Cocoa Sika Payment Platform will gradually push farmers unto the formal financial platform that will allow them access to loans for expanding and improving their farms.

It will also reduce the burden of farmers and purchasing clerks of carrying huge sums of money, which often exposes them to robbery.

“Cocoa Sika Payment Platform will reduce reported cases of robbery of farmers as well as purchasing clerks,” he said.

The Omanhene of Esikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who chaired the event, said the introduction of the Cocoa Sika Payment platform will bring sanity in the operations and prompt payment to farmers.

The Progressive Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association was established as a company limited by guarantee under the Ghana Company’s code 1963 (Act) 179 on May 20, 2014.

The Association was formed by 14 Indigenous Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies to advance each other’s welfare and also to raise adequate funding to purchase cocoa in their individual capacities.

The members of the association believe that by coming together to form the association, member companies can pull resources together to attract large amount of funding on better conditions than they individually get and can also buy cocoa in large volumes.

The association could as well help members to attract high level professionals to manage successfully, the businesses of member companies through the Secretariat of the Association and also help to reduce cost of operations.