The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has resolved to surcharge all Licenced Cocoa Buyers (LBCs) culpable in tempering with weighing scales to cheat cocoa farmers as captured in Joy News investigative piece, ‘Missing Kilos’.

Addressing the media on the documentary, Deputy CEO of Operations at COCOBOD, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku described the act by LBCs as “condemnable” lamenting that it “counts among a number of challenges which have plagued the cocoa sector for decades”.

He said it is also one of the ills that the Management of COCOBOD has already unravelled and presently taking steps to address.

“COCOBOD has put in place a punitive measure to surcharge any defaulting LBC with the monetary equivalent of the aggregated weight from cocoa sheds across the country that the LBC in question may have short-changed the unsuspecting farmers, once GSA confirms adjustment of such weighing scales,” Deputy CEO of Operations at COCOBOD, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku, revealed.

The documentary by Kwetey Nartey, was produced in 2018 but was delayed in showing because the PBCs placed an injunction on it. It highlights some challenges cocoa producers face in the country which includes the adjustment of scales by the Produce Buying Companies (PBCs).

Meanwhile, COCOBOD as part of its preventive mechanisms has resolved to procure sealable cocoa weighing scales approved by the Standards Authority.

Even though management failed to disclose details regarding the amount involved in the procurement as well as the country from which it will be imported from, Deputy CEO of Operations, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku explained the sealable scales will be distributed to all Licenced Cocoa Buyers at a cost.

The reform or preventive measure involves the introduction of GSA recommended electronic sealable weighing scales which meet a set of tamper-proof standards – so that scale adjustments will be a thing of the past.

“To provide the needed guidance and ensure the smooth rollout of this reform, the decision has been taken to import the electronic sealable weighing scales, starting this year, and distribute them at a cost to the LBCs,” he revealed.

As part of reforms to end the pervasive spread of the practice, COCOBOD says it will continuously monitor and police the sale of cocoa beans by LBCs to eliminate the systemic problem.