Pay cocoa farmers promptly to avert agitation—Agric minister to COCOBOD

Pay cocoa farmers promptly to avert agitation—Agric minister to COCOBOD

The Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has charged the management and newly constituted board of COCOBOD to ensure that farmers are promptly paid to avert any agitation that may result in the country missing its production target for the 2021/2022 crop season.

The directive follows a recent agitation by some cocoa farmers across the country–lamenting over debt owed them after supplying cocoa beans in the light crop season.

The Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association of Ghana (LICOBAG) has blamed the development on the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic but has assured that processes are far advanced to clear the debt.

Speaking at a ceremony to swear into office an 11-member board, Dr. Afriyie Akoto stressed the need to put premium on the light crop season just as is observed for the main season when cocoa beans are purchased by foreign companies outside the country.

He advised License Buying Companies (LBCs) to always seek the welfare of cocoa farmers since they are a priority group under government’s agenda of improving the livelihood of rural farmers. “We know the problem facing the marketing of cocoa in this country. These are challenges we need to tackle. We need to make sure the financing of the main crop is done without impeding on the finances of the farmers.”

Dr. Afriyie Akoto was hopeful that with the pickup of world economies after the successful manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, the demand for chocolate and confectionaries will shot up again. This, he said will help Ghanaian farmers earn more money since the inception of the Living Income Differential of US$400 per tonne of cocoa sale which goes directly to farmers.

New board commissioned

The 11-member board comprising 10 male and one female is chaired by Peter Mac Manu, who takes over from Hackman Owusu-Agyemang.

Dr. Afriyie Akoto urged the new board to continue to build upon the successes attained by the previous Board of Directors, whose tenure spanned 2017 to 2021. “Great efforts were put in to attain this feat which is mainly as a result of our extensive agronomic practices and initiatives such as, rehabilitation, hand pollination among others,” he said.

The chairman of the new Board of Directors, Peter Mac Manu, was grateful to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Minister of Food and Agriculture for the opportunity offered him to serve the country and the cocoa industry.

“The policies administered by my predecessor has contributed positively to farmers’ production and income which is of key interest to this administration and looking forward to build on it,” he said.

Serving with the Chairman, Peter Mac Manu, on the Board of Directors are the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo; the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison; and Charles Adu Boahen, a representative of the Ministry of Finance.

Others are Hebert Krapa, representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry; Yaw Addo Frimpong, representative of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Edward Okoh Ampofo will represent workers of Ghana Cocoa Board.

A businesswoman and the only female member of the previous board, Nana Adwoa Dokua, was inducted for a second term as a government nominee together with the Member of Parliament for the Suhum Constituency, Kwadjo Asante. Representing cocoa farmers on the new Board of Directors are Nana Johnson Mensah and Nana Obeng Akrofi.

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