Cocoa farmers call for pension scheme
The Afosu Area Cocoa Farmers Association in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region has appealed to government to institute a pension scheme for cocoa farmers to free them from poverty in old age.
This could be done by deducting tokens from their sales proceeds to sustain the scheme.
Addressing a news conference at Afosu, Mr Martin Larbi, Chairman of the association, called for an increase in the producer price of cocoa to help attract the youth to the sector.
The Afosu cocoa farmers also called for the use of electronic scales, instead of the “clock face” scales currently being used to weigh cocoa, which could easily be tampered with by purchasing clerks.
They suggested that the main cocoa season should be from early August, instead of October, in order to reduce farmers' dependence on loans from middlemen and purchasing clerks, who, in most cases, cheat them in the end.
The Afosu members pleaded that cocoa pods be sold to farmers who want to nurse their own seedlings, and a reduction made in the price of spraying machines, to enable farmers purchase them.
They called for an increase in the allowance of spraying gang members, who are currently receiving GH¢70 each, to motivate them to do effective work, noting that, hitherto, such workers were attracted to illegal gold mining, and pleaded for free medical care for members of the spraying gangs.
They called for the provision of cocoa extension officers with motorcycles, so that they could visit farmers periodically on their farms.
They also pleaded for the rehabilitation of all cocoa roads for the smooth conveyance of cocoa to the depots, especially, in New Abirem-Kade, Asuom, New Abirem-Nkawkaw, where the roads are in bad shape.
The cocoa farmers said in addition to the cash bonus, farmers should be given cocoa products to motivate them in their efforts.