Cocoa farmers in the country have been assured of the commencement of the Digitized Weighing Scale system.
The assurance was given by the Deputy Chief Executive in-charge of Operations at the Ghana COCOBOD, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku, in Accra, at a National Stakeholders Dialogue organised by SEND-Ghana, to discuss farm gate pricing and income of cocoa farmers.
The forum was on the theme “Assessing Farm Gate Pricing and Income of Cocoa Farmers: A case study of Cocoa Farmers in Agona East District”.
He explained that the introduction of the new innovation was very important because farmers had been complaining over the years of weighing scale adjustment fraud perpetrated by purchasing clerks.
“It is unfortunate that unregistered brokers support purchasing clerks in the remotest areas resort to adjusting their scales illegally,” he said.
The Ghana Country Director of SEND-Ghana, Mr. George Osei-Bimpeh, said the new weighing system will help address the issues of scale adjustment fraud.
“We believe the move will eliminate cheating tendencies, allay fears, boost trust, as well as ensure the payment of exact producer price to our hardworking cocoa farmers in the country”, he said.
Join fight against smuggling
The chairperson for Cocoa Abrabopa Association, Mr Ismaila Pomasi, for his part, urged all stakeholders in the industry to join the fight against smuggling of fertilizers to neighbouring countries. So as to enable Ghanaian farmers to maximize on the benefits of the current floor price of cocoa.
He further conveyed to farmers the key demands of the Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEP). This programme calls for a regular pruning of infested and parasitic branches and best practices. He also added that without a living income for cocoa farmers, cocoa will never be sustainable.
“If a farmer must choose between feeding his family, and not cutting down his old-growth trees, it isn’t a choice. Other challenges facing the sector such as deforestation and child labour will be impossible to tackle if farmers still live in poverty” he added.
Pruning is crucial
Fertilizer supply and the introduction of improved seeds, according to the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agric and Cocoa Affairs, Mr Asafo Adjei, will help Ghana increase its cocoa yields in subsequent years.
He called on stakeholders to give pruning the needed attention as it is crucial to agronomic and productivity enhancement activity.