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Business News of Thursday, 27 May 2021


We always die off when it’s time to benefit from our labour – Cocoa farmer laments

File photo of a cocoa farmer harvesting cocoa pods File photo of a cocoa farmer harvesting cocoa pods

Cocoa farmer in the Bepowso township in the Bekwai District of the Ashanti region, Kwabena Obeng has expressed sorrow over the pain they (farmers) go through just to make a living.

According to him, farming has now become so expensive that persons who do not have the funds to support their farms have to devote their youth and strength to cultivate their lands.

“There is so much pain involved in farming these days. You suffer terribly if you do not have the money to hire labourers to help you farm. Labour is now very expensive and most farmers now solely cultivate large tracts of lands and simply turn weak and die off when it is time for us to reap the fruits of our labour.”

The 63-year-old farmer who has been growing cocoa for 20 years reiterated that poor farmers aside from not being able to afford labour, also spend the little they make in paying for fertilizers and acquiring farm inputs.

He shared that government support to cocoa farmers is inconsistent and not enough. “The government is supposed to spray our farms for us but that does not happen and our cocoa wither and die costing us tons of investment. Also, we do not receive regular skills training and best cocoa growing practices from agric extension officers and that is our challenge.”

Kwabena Obeng revealed that last year, the 50 percent discounted government fertilizer supplied to farmers came at a wrong time and has only burdened farmers. “The fertilizers came in the dry season and because there were no rains, it (fertilizer) didn’t have the needed effect on the cocoa and they didn’t do well. And now we are burdened with the responsibility of paying for the fertilizer we never had any benefit from.”

The cash crop farmer who is living under extreme poverty conditions disclosed he even finds it difficult to provide his family with a balanced diet. “Going to the farm today, I had to buy Gh₵2 worth of oiled rice each, for myself, wife and child. I didn’t get any eggs for anyone because egg is a luxury and I will rather buy extra portions of rice than spend my money on egg,” he sadly stated.

This and other similar stories on the plight of rural cocoa farmers have been shared on Happy98.9FM’s Epa Hoa Daben political show as part of a series dubbed, “Ghana’s Cocoa Sector, ‘The Inside Story’. This was prompted by the revelation of China actively participating in the growing of cocoa.