17.10.2004 Regional News

Cocoa farmers cry foul for delay in compensation payment

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Agona Nyakrom (C/R), Oct 17, GNA - Cocoa Farmers in the Agona Nyakrom area of the Central Region have expressed concern about the delay in the payment of their compensation by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) Control Unit of the Ghana COCOBOD. Ms Florence Frempomah Arthur, spokeswoman of the farmers told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Nyakrom that about two years ago that the Unit destroyed cocoa farms affected by the swollen shoot disease without compensation to enable them maintain their farms.

She said the patience of the farmers was running out and asked the government to intervene to resolve the matter.

Ms Arthur stated that even though CSSVD officials from both the Central Regional Office at Swedru and Accra had given the assurance that the farmers would be compensated and should exercise restraint while efforts were made to pay them, the officials had not honoured their promise.

She said that even though the officials told the farmers at a meeting at Agpna Swedru that they would be paid in July this year, they have still not been compensated.

She expressed regret that the affected farmers could not pay their children's school fees and appealed to the COCOBOD to make efforts to pay them.

When GNA contacted Mr Francis Antwi-Adjei, Deputy Central Regional Manager of CSSVD, he said efforts were being made to pay the farmers. He pointed out that while some of the farmers had been compensated others had not been paid.

Mr Antwi-Adjei said the European Union (EU) and the Government is financing the exercise, adding that, the EU had appointed its own external auditors to vet the vouchers for payment every three months. He noted that the quarterly auditing had delayed payment, saying, that internal auditors had finished vetting the first payment made. The Deputy Regional Manager stated that the Unit had finished paying causal workers who were engaged to destroy the affected cocoa trees and gave the assurance that farmers in the Agona Nyakrom area would be paid as soon as the auditing of their vouchers were completed.

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