30.06.2006 Press Release

Cocoa farmers are poor and hungry

By The Insight
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Those who benefit from the profits of the cocoa industry are certainly not the farmers who do all the back-breaking work.

The real profits go to the huge multi-national corporations and officials of state who are the managers of the cocoa sector.

Cocoa farmers produce an average of only eight bags of the beans per season.

At a producer price of 562,500.00 cedis per bag, this works up to only about 4.5 million cedis per season.

It is from this same income that the cocoa farmer pays for the cost of extra-labour needed on his farm and the school and medical bills of his or her dependants.

Some cocoa farmers earn far less than 4.5 million cedis per season. Some produce as low as four bags of cocoa per season.

Studies carried out by The Insight have revealed that some cocoa farmers are not able to buy one piece of cloth for their wives in a whole year as is customarily expected in some rural communities.

They also do not benefit from scholarship schemes set up by the Cocobod.

They and their dependents do not have access to such facilities as the cocoa clinic in Accra.

One of the major problems facing the farmers is the very long delay in effecting payment for their produce.

Sometimes, it takes up to six weeks for the farmers to get paid.

On some occasions they go to the rural banks for more than thrice before they get paid.

At other times, they surrender their Akuafo Cheques to officials who pay them for less than the face value of their cheques.

Many cocoa farmers live in mud houses without portable water and many of the conveniences city dwellers take for granted.

Some have to walk for 18 kilometers before they reach the nearest health facility.

As Ghana earns more from cocoa as a result of favourable world market prices and increased production, it is expected that a lot more resources will be put into social welfare programmes and projects for cocoa farmers.

President J.A. Kufuor was certainly on the right path when he urged consumers of cocoa on the international market to do more to alleviate the suffering of peasant cocoa farmers.

The question however, is what is being done now for the suffering farmers.

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