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05.12.2005 General News

Farmers cry foul for cocoa non-payment

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Assin Fosu, C/R, Dec 5, GNA - Cocoa Framers in the Assin District of the Central Region have expressed concern about the inability of banks to honour their Akuafo cheques.

Opanyin Kwadwo Kankam, a prominent cocoa farmer speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Assin Achiase, said farmers had accepted the Akuafo Cheque as a means of payment for their produce but the inability of the banks to honour them was frustrating them. He stated that he sold 70 bags of cocoa to the Produce Buying Company (PBC) but when he presented the cheque to the Assinman Rural Bank at Assin Manso he was told that money for payment of the produce had not been transferred.

Opanyin Kankam said other farmers in the district who went to the Ghana Commercial Bank and the Akoti Rural Bank at Assin Fosu and the Ahenkro Rural Bank at Assin Ahenkro to cash their Akuafo cheques were also disappointed.

He stated that the farmers were going through frustrations and anxieties due to their inability to cash their Akuafo cheques, which could compel them to revert to the old system of taking cash for their produce.

Opanyin Kankam said farmers had accepted the Akuafo cheque system, which was an intervention by the government to ward off attacks from armed robbers and other associated problems. Another farmer, Opanyin Armah Boye, told the GNA at Assin Fosu that the problem was serious and appealed to the PBC to endeavour to rectify the situation as early as possible to enable them to cash their cheques since Christmas was just around the corner. The management of the PBC last week announced that more than 94 billion cedis had been released to the banks in the Central Region for the purchase of cocoa during the main crop season. Armah Boye expressed shock that the banks were not honouring their cheques and urged the PBC to ensure that farmers did not lose confidence and trust in the Akuafo Cheque system.

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