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22.10.2008 Business & Finance

Cocoa farmers appeal to COCOBOD to enforce bonus payments

By gna

Cocoa farmers at Duakwa and surrounding villages near Agona Swedru, have appealed to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to ensure that moneys released to the Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies in respect of bonuses reached them.

Opanin Kwaku Mensah, a cocoa farmer, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Akim Oda where he has a cocoa farm in addition to one at Duakwa, that most of the farmers had not received their bonuses for cocoa beans sold at Duakwa for the 2005/06 and the 2006/07 main crop seasons.

He said though the system for the disbursement of bonus was straight forward, the Purchasing Clerks (P/Cs) of the various societies (sheds), made it cumbersome for the farmers, especially the illiterates among them to understand the process for the payments.

Opanin Mensah said in the end the farmer was totally cheated, or given a fraction of his bonus.

He reiterated that since the bonus was only meant for the farmer, the government had to ensure that such huge sums of money was not shared among "these unscrupulous officials" who had not worked for it or who did not have any cocoa farm.

He expressed surprised that COCOBOD, which was aware of the attitude of some of the purchasing clerks, still remained unconcern about "farmers plight in this regard".

When the GNA contacted Mr Moses Ashmond, a P/C of the Cocoa Merchant Company at Duakwa, he could not substantiate payments of bonus made in respect of the 2005/06 and 2006/07 main crop seasons.

The farmers wondered why the COCOBOD should continue to “throw moneys in the drain without putting in place transparent policy to check the P/Cs”.

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