The Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform has appealed to government to strictly regulate the operations of licensed buying companies (LBCs) to prevent the unfair adjusting of scales used in measuring cocoa beans.
According to the group, cocoa farmers do not get value for their cocoa beans as LBCs unfairly adjust their scales.
The coordinator for the platform, Obed Owusu-Adda said cocoa farmers are expecting to go to the various LBCs to get their produce measured as prices have increased.
“The Cocobod has said that they are expecting increment in the production of cocoa. We are expecting that farmers will go to the station the various LBCs and get a good measurement.”
“The problem has always been that when they take their 64 kilos of cocoa to the pump, they don’t get a good measure there–is mostly a tweaking of the scale–and cocoa farmers are short changed. So, we are expecting that the government will make sure that the LBC’s do not short change the cocoa farmers and indeed measure their cocoa beans according to the scale that they are taking their cocoa to the pump.”
Mr. Owusu-Adda lamented about the drop in cocoa prices on the international market, but is hopeful that government will pay farmers the expected amount for a bag of cocoa now that the living income differential (LID) has been fully implemented.
“Last Friday, it was about $2,474 per tonne of cocoa, so there has been almost like 23 to 24 percent drop in the price since the beginning of the year. In July last year when they instituted the LID and the assumption was that it will make up for some of these loses and based on the projections and calculations.
“If the LID was fully implemented as it is being implemented now, we expect the government to have been able to pay farmers about 698 cedis per bag of cocoa,” he said.
Though he commended government on the increment of cocoa prices, he indicated that the price increase is still below his outfit’s expectation.
According to Mr. Owusu-Adda, the 28 percent increase “is still a bit below the expectation that we were looking for that should go to the farmer”.
“We make our projection with the assumption that the government was going to retain about 20 percent of the living income differential but as it turned out they have given all the 400 dollars to the farmer so by our projection and by that increment that they did they should have been able to do a bit more than they did.”
“By and large, we think it’s very commendable that the government did what they did”, he emphasised.