The Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association of Ghana (LICOBAG) has assured cocoa farmers in the country that it will pay monies owed them in the light crop season.
This comes after persistent agitation by some of the affected cocoa farmers who say they are yet to receive payment for cocoa supplied to some License Cocoa Buying Companies (LBCs).
Addressing journalists at a press briefing, the president of LICOBAG, Samuel Adimado, said the association is engaging with COCOBOD and the farmers to resolve the problem and prevent future reoccurrence.
“We want to emphasize that COCOBOD does not owe cocoa farmers in Ghana. COCOBOD has already paid all cocoa farmers for the main season. The purchasing for light season is done by LBCs,” he said.
Throwing more light on the issue, Mr. Adimado explained that COCOBOD provides seed funding at the beginning of each cocoa season to all local LBCs and, the latter, on the other hand, may raise certificates beyond the seed funds for COCOBOD to make further payments.
He stated that per the law that regulates the operations of licensed buying companies, they are required to provide supplementary funding to operate the businesses, in addition to the seed funds provided by COCOBOD.
Mr. Adimado observed that in the course of the season, some members of LICOBAG experienced delays in payment after raising certificates, due to the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on international trade and the external marketing of cocoa.
“The other reasons were the closure of shipping ports and its consequent delay in shipments and release of funds by international buyers, the substantial drops in the price of cocoa on the international market within the year, as well as the closure of many airports, hotels, and confectionary outlets, where chocolate and other cocoa products are highly patronised,” he said.
He appealed to all cocoa farmers who may have in any way suffered a delay in payment to draw the attention of District Officers of the LBCs concerned, in case the Purchasing Clerks at the society/village level in their communities have received funds and are yet to make due payments to the farmers after receiving their cocoa.
“LICOBAG and its members recognise the special status of cocoa farmers as stakeholders in our cocoa industry. Our members spend years building trust and lasting mutually profitable relationships with our cherished farmers and participate in initiatives to improve our cocoa communities,” he added.